Canada’s New Shipping Shortcut

This is a Wendover Productions video made
possible by Hover. Get 10% off your custom Domain from Hover
with the code “Wendover” at checkout. The Arctic will be perhaps the single most
influential region on earth in the coming century and yet almost no-one even lives there. Eight nations have territory above the Arctic
Circle—Denmark though their constituent country: Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden,
Finland, Russia, the United States, and Canada—and they are all in close quarters. This circle represents the distance a plane
can fly in three hours. Most of these countries can reach each other
faster than they watch Titanic. Anchorage, Alaska is, in fact, closer to Tromsø,
Norway than it is to New York because of the short-cut over the pole. Alert, Canada is so close to Tromsø, Norway
that it could be flown by a turboprop plane (Pilatus PC-12 NG.) The only issue is, there’s about to be some
serious money in the high north. The Arctic ice is melting, there’s no question
about that. Some may debate the cause of the melt, but
one cannot debate that there’s simply less ice up north than there was 50 years ago. This melt has profound consequences. Whole countries like Tuvalu and the Maldives
could be largely underwater by the end of the century because of the rising sea levels
from melting ice. But the melt has a different, more obvious
effect—where there was once ice there’s now liquid, navigable water. One of the greatest quests for early explorers
was to find a Northwest Passage—a navigable sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans through the Canadian Archipelago. It was long thought to be myth until in 1906
Roald Amundsen and his six crew members arrived at Herchel Island, Canada, having successfully
completed a three-year voyage from Norway via the new Northwest Passage. The significance of the Northwest Passage
is that, until 1914 when the Panama Canal opened, traffic from the Atlantic could only
reach the Pacific by sailing around Cape Horn—the southern tip of South America. This meant that a sea route between London
and San Francisco—5,000 miles apart as the crow flies—took 14,000 miles. This was not efficient. It was a significant hamper to development
to the American west coast. The Northwest passage would’ve revolutionized
maritime trade—if it wasn’t covered in ice. Roald Amundsen’s ship, the Gjøa, was small
enough that it could snake through and slide over ice. Some of the waterways Amundsen took were as
few as three feet deep—far too shallow for the increasingly large commercial ships of
the time. More than 100 years later, in September of
2013, however, for the very first time, a commercial bulk carrier, the MS Nordic Orion,
transited an almost ice-free Northwest Passage on its journey from Vancouver, Canada to Pori,
Finland, and this was far from a publicity stunt. This ship saved $80,000 in fuel costs and
was able to take 25% more cargo than if it had gone through the Panama Canal. Even thousand passenger cruise ships are now
making the journey. Ironically, global warming is actually opening
a route that’s better for the environment. China is a country with a vested interest
in the navigability of the northwest passage. As an economy largely based on manufacturing
for the western world, their maritime accessibility has an enormous effect on their national wellbeing. A reduction in time and cost of shipping to
the American east coast would renew their competitiveness in the manufacturing industry
against emerging rivals such as Vietnam and Bangladesh. As China industrialized largely thanks to
its manufacturing industry the standard of living in the country increased which correspondently
increased labour costs. China’s Maritime Safety Administration,
recognizing the imminent explosion in usage, recently published a 356 page guide to navigating
the northwest passage and the country has announced plans to send more and more commercial
shipping traffic through the passage in the coming summers. The introduction of maritime traffic to the
northwest passage could present a significant opportunity for Canada. The northern territories of Canada, through
which northwest passage runs, are historically underdeveloped. Less than 120,000 people live in the Yukon,
the Northwest territories, and Nunavut. That’s less than the population of Saguenay—a
town small enough that you probably haven’t even heard of it—living in an area larger
than the entire country of India. It’s not all that surprising considering
just how inhospitable the area is, but other places at similar latitudes such as Anchorage,
Longyearbyen, and Murmansk have managed to overcome the conditions thanks to the money
that can be made in the far north. If a large chunk of the worlds maritime traffic
heads through the Canadian north, industry will develop to support these ships. Except, there’s a problem. Despite the general friendliness of most of
the arctic countries, there are geopolitical issues in the high north. Even more surprisingly, one of them is between
the US and Canada. When there’s a navigation choke-point restricting
certain countries from accessing an ocean, it’s convention to declare that waterway
an international waterway. For example, the Danish Straits—fully surrounded
by Denmark—are an international waterway in order to give the Baltic and Scandinavian
countries ocean access; the Turkish straits, fully surrounded by Turkey, are international
waterways to give the black sea countries ocean access; and the Danube River is an international
waterway to give landlocked Austria, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, and Slovakia ocean access. When a waterway is declared an international
waterway no country can restrict access or charge dues to passing boats except during
a time of war. Canada considers the waterways comprising
the northwest passage in their archipelago as their own waters. In the past nobody challenged this since there
was no reason anyone would cross through these frozen waters. With its promise to cut shipping routes by
thousands of miles, the northwest passage will almost certainly become an important
shipping route so that’s why countries like the US firmly believe that the northwest passage
should be and already is an international waterway. One of the tensest moments in history between
the US and Canada was when, in 1985, a US Coast Guard Icebreaker travelled through the
northwest passage without prior permission from Canada. In Canada’s mind, this was a military invasion
of their sovereign territory—debatably an act of war. Canada argues that the northwest passage is
not an international waterway because it has failed to meet an important criteria—usefulness. Of course the northwest passage is useful
on paper—it shortens the route between the oceans—but Canada has pointed out that in
previous cases determining whether a waterway is international, what proves a route’s
usefulness is if a significant number of ships have already successfully transited it. In the northwest passage’s case, the number
of successful commercial journeys is in the double digits. There’s also merit to Canada’s argument
that the passage should be their sovereign waters. Currently, Canada has almost no search-and-rescue
capabilities in their archipelago. Since there’s almost no traffic yet, there’s
no real reason to spend the money to put ships and aircraft up there. Most previous journeys have been highly coordinated
and often escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard. If a ship just went through with no prior
coordination nowadays and sank, however, there would be almost no chance of rescue for the
victims. If in a few summers hundreds of ships transit
the passage, Canada would have an obligation to put resources in the northern provinces
for the safety of both the country and sailors and that takes money. If treated as an internal waterway, Canada
could charge passage fees just as there are for the Panama or Suez Canal—the other major
shipping shortcuts of the world. These could fund the infrastructure needed
to safety regulate and police the route. But on the other hand, should one country
have the capability to chose who can get from the Pacific to Atlantic faster? Letting, for example, Vietnamese ships through
the route but banning Chinese ships would make the Chinese goods uncompetitive for the
Western European and Eastern American market. Canada would have the capability to choose
which economies can succeed and which will fail. There’s a reason the issue’s so contentious. Scientists disagree on the exact date, but
there’s a general consensus that by the year 2050 there will be a summer when there
is no ice in the Arctic. This will have enormous and irreversible consequences
on our globe, but it could further revolutionize how we get our goods. An ice-free arctic will open up the greatest
shipping short-cut in the world—the Arctic Ocean. Ships traveling between Japan and western
Europe, for example, instead of heading south, across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez
Canal, and across the Mediterranean sea, will be able to head north through the bering strait,
directly across the arctic ocean, and down between Greenland and Norway to Europe. That’s a 7,000 mile route compared to the
13,000 mile route of today. That has the potential to slash shipping prices
in half. That means cheaper products across the entire
world. But at what cost. Every degree of climate warming in the US
alone is expected to cause $144 billion dollars per year of economic loss. If the US climate warms by 12 degrees, which
the EPA says is possible by 2100, the US can expect to lose more than $1.7 trillion per
year—that’s more than a full percent of its GDP. On top of that, by 2050, climate change is
expected to cause more than 250,000 deaths per year. Surely that can’t be worth it for some cheaper
goods. This video was made possible by Hover. I recently bought two new domains with Hover—the
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Comments 100

  • Well I just lost some respect for Wendover. A bunch of lies about the amount of ice in the Arctic and it being ice free.

  • What if you’re not a climate alarmist? What if the Arctic doesn’t do what it’s supposed to? Your climate economic numbers are B.S.

  • 9:38 We can't control the earth's cycles.. We are still not out of last ice age, the glaciers and north/south pole is proof of this.
    Kids and teenagers of today are being brainwashed by massive corporations who make millions from people thinking there is an issue.

    The only issue if the water level rises is that people shouldn't have settled there until we were out of the ice-age.

    WE cannot control the earth's cycles! Stop making people believe we can! The solution to desertification by the way is MORE animals! MORE meat, not less.

  • What's with the voice?

  • Canada should get the waters, if no one wanted them international 50 years ago nothing should change

  • Any 6th grader knows that ice, floating in the Arctic Sea, displaces it mass in the water. That means that if all the ice in the Arctic Sea melts, there cannot be any "Sea Rise".

  • I’m an American and I agree with many that the artic corridor should belong to canada

  • Panama and Suez canal exist
    Global warming: Hold my fresh water.

    And it is 100% Canadian territory. They should be able to charge fees and regulate things there. Although they should also agree for free trade and equal fees for all nations transiting. This won't solve the issue entirely but it is a good compromise.

  • 2015 no ice in the Arctic waters … Gee, wrong again! 🙂

  • Those ships better watch out! I hear there are a lot of Somalians now living in Canada.

  • Nah, Canadian waters. Regulation of the ships that go through needs to be ensured.

  • By that logic, that Canada owns the land on both sides of a natural connection between East and West… (Not a manmade connection, that requires mechanical maintenance, like the aforementioned canals) then The USofA owns the waters between Hawaii and California… Alaska and Hawaii etc… Not going there… Open your eyes and think about your logic… Now as to the costs of providing outstations and Coast Guard support for the passage, The International merchant marine organizations would gladly pay for support to realize the savings and ease the costs of going around… It's not Canada's anything, they didn't build anything, it's Earth's and they have no idea how many submarines travel under the Northwest passage consistently and don't pay JACK…! Good luck to us all… Modernize your beliefs…

  • Ice Melt doesn't raise Sea Levels.

  • This video could have discussed the shallow ocean bottom,narrow passes and bad weather. All making this northern channel dangerous and concerning.

  • I really think we take for granted our explorers and the men who dedicated their lives to exploring the planet.

  • Argh, these Mercator projection maps…

  • This is the problem we are to nice and polite we our neighbours that they think the own the world

  • Yes fuck China

  • This video and most of the comments miss the most significant part of not violating the Canadian archipelago for commercial shipping. The shallow passages between the islands are responsible for providing the last "ice refuge" for the oldest multi-year sea-ice in the Arctic Ocean that provides the nucleus for the re-freezing of the sea-ice each Fall/Winter season. 
    Once the Arctic sea-ice is gone, the carbon cycle so disturbed, there will be an ice-free Arctic Ocean for the next 100,000 years, but humanity's 10,000-year reign will not last100 more. Increased shipping combined with the loss of land-fast sea-ice will accelerate permafrost thawing and coastal erosion, as is already occurring on the Alaskan North slope, spreading eastward across the Arctic coast of the Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut. This is certain to accelerate all the negative consequences of AGW as the thawing permafrost contains massive carbon stores released as either methane or CO2. 
    SCREW THE COMMERCE! You can't eat money!
    The rapidly warming world will affect food production far more negatively than any modest gains in transport fuel savings. 1 accident in the Arctic will have consequences for a generation. 
    I don't say generationS because there is no guaranteed future with this type of thinking.
    Oh BTW, Anchorage is NOT an Arctic climate city, and not on the Arctic Ocean. Totally incomparable to Longyearbyen, and Murmansk, which are above the tree line. Anchorage at 61 deg latitude does NOT experience the continuous polar night light Pt. Barrow's 67 days of darkness. On the Winter Solstice, 21-December, Anchorage still gets 5 hrs. and 28 minutes of daylight.

  • 4:17 "Noonavoot"
    lmao nice try.

  • No question about the Arctic melting ? I know some Dumb Ass Youtubers that would argue all day long how the Earth is getting colder. Their facts are based on one single glacier that is increasing in size. Also the fact it gets colder during winter months, than summer months.

  • Lower shipping costs = higher profits. Not lower prices of the goods being sold. What imaginary world are you living in ?

  • Who here actually thinks that the NWP shouldn't belong to Canada? It's surrounded entirely by Canada, not restricting ocean access to any other nation, and nobody cared about it for over 100 years.
    It's like a bunch of kids ignoring a toy that's not cool, so Canada takes it and plays with it and now all the kids are jealous because he's having fun and they want it now.
    Fuck outta here, those waters are Canadian and we all know it.

  • Good thing that most of my country is 25 meters above sea level.

  • The northwest passage is Canadian water so we should have control just like Panama and Egypt.

  • Shut up. The planet is on fire. @

  • Now i know why they want to melt it. More real estate.

  • Whats the logic about talking about loses ? The sea ice will melt. So the route will be ice free.

  • "This, is a Bend Over Production."

  • bring on the global warming, need to keep dollar stores $1

  • 250,000 deaths every few decades, You already abort 600,000 on avg per year!!! which is not as subjective as climate change. You might want to get your priority straight!

  • if you listened to that fucktard Gore, all of the ice would be gone years ago. oops..

  • Let Canada decide what they want to do. If they want to charge fees let them. It’s their territory anyway. USA likes to put their nose in everything!

  • Isn't that Prime Minister TRUDY all about Open Boarders? LOL

  • This is one of the best videos on YouTube available

  • 5:16 "Baltics and Scandinavian countries"
    What's about Poland?! 😱 😱 😱



  • The North west passage is Canadian,

  • Well made video until they start on the Global Warming crap

  • #1 Melting sea ice does not raise sea level. #2 Those who hope for a NW passage are always disappointed as sea ice comes back. #3 Warmer weather saves money and lives.

  • Denmark! Sell us Greenland!


  • Okay obviously Canada owns the northwest passage, unlike other international waterways this doesn't restrict any country from accessing the ocean. Canada can & should block China from using it in the future, China likes to piss on everyone so someone should put them in their place.

  • bad ship

  • Ice Ages come, Ice Ages go…

  • Northwest passage belongs to Canada period

  • Operation Arctic Shield in 2015, the Coast Guard deployed cutters, aircraft and personnel to engage in operations encompassing a variety of Coast Guard missions from Dutch Harbor through the Bering Strait and along the North Slope including the Northern Alaska Outer Continental Shelf. So I guess it is on the mind of the US.

  • Bloody brainwashed americans!! Firstly, the ice is NOT melting; there is no less ice in this region than there was fifty years ago. Regardless of the season. Check FACTS before just repeating hysteria and corporation motivated BS!
    Secondly, NOT international waters; this region is Canadian predominantly.

  • Give us our west coast from the border of yukon down to bc and we'd give americans access to nwp

  • The published date of this video indicates that it is out of date and no longer relevant in light of current weather and climate trends. Climate change is now moving in the opposite direction and the fear of a new ice age is increasingly being discussed, and therefore this synopsis, and its predictions for the future are far less likely to be fulfilled.

  • It's obviously internal waters. NOT international waters. Clearly.

  • FUCK CANADA !!!!

  • BS. It's just no true. They have been predicting global flooding for50 years and it is just not happening. And, for ever cubic meter of ice in the Arctic that melts, there is on in the Antarctic that freezes. Thus-no net gain of ice!

  • Always with the omission, there are going to be costs either way, vain attempts at stopping change will be an even more expensive way to fail. The reality of accepting the change is that there are benefits which off set the cost, as noted. There are always countless factors not being taken into account with climate change alarmism.
    and if Canada really cared so much about global warming, they wouldn't be disputing anything if it saved fuel. I mean seriously, what are they doing.

  • why was there a US flag on the Canadian coast guard ship?

  • imagine canada growing some backbone, investing in its none existent Navy and start patrolling those waters, keeping the US away and playing the Russians as needed,

  • Utility <> Usefulness

  • Want to be smuggle into Canada by ship

  • WE OWN THIS WATER!!!! we want our land to be treated by care and not bombarded by oil spills or pollution for free! we don’t want to spend our budget to set up settlements to support passing countries!

  • Really boring…….and so out of date…….ho hum…..fuck the lefties.

  • The heat gained in the 2007 retreat of seaice was 95,000-Twh, closing all steam plants 250Mwh and larger is a one-time save of 36,000-Twh, 2-1/2 times less.

    The heat gained is no longer released in fall, the ice is near a game-over bluewater event.

    Chopping up the Arctic seaice for shipping is a Death Certificate for economic survival.

  • the arctic ice melting wouldn't cause rising sea levels because its floating ice. the only melting ice that would effect sea levels would be land ice


  • I dont see how it can be considered international waters. All examples that were listed were examples of a country being blocked access completely to the oceans and it was the sole path to a location. NW passage is not a sole route to the pacific or Atlantic

  • Dream on…babbling nonsense. Ice is not melting increased last year and not even as low as it was 100 years ago…and Arctic ice won't raise the oceans. It is already in balance. Only Antarctic ice can raise the oceans


  • We need to manifest our destiny in Canada and Greenland

  • Melting sea ice will not race sea levels.

  • This is bullshit.

  • Ok ill give you that global warming is a real problem but near the end of the video you pin it on the us which is retarded not only because the us makes up a fraction of global carbon emissions but also attempting to fight climate change today would be economic suicide you should be quiet before you look like an idiot and keep the politics to yourself

  • 0:58 Wait, the artic is melting?

  • Your Model on Global Warming is so Wrong – Do More Research – Remove this Tripe from the Net

  • “250k (estimated) deaths due to climate change surely isn’t worth it”?! 1.25 million people actually die in road accidents each year; even after billions is spent on ways to mitigate those deaths.So obviously you have concluded that we should immediately ban all cars? Thanks for the great insight on cost / benefit analysis, Wendover

  • If China can claim the sea of Japan I don,t see the problem with Canada controlling its inland waterways.

  • Let me say this as simply as possible,,, Canada, owns, Canada. When the United States allows ALL Canadians free passage at any time, unchecked, to pass through their country to get to Mexico.Perhaps Canada will talk to the USA about reciprocity. Until then,,,,well,,,you know what I'm going to say,,,,Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

  • The Maldives will disappear in the 2000s… Read in the 90s. Well, the Maldives are still there… And I still not fly to work every morning in a flying car.

  • "Canada's New Shipping Shortcut"
    Nope not in the foreseeable future.
    The Russians who are much more savvy about the Arctic than we have ever been, used their latest ice breaker and didn't make it. It was stranded for several weeks until a rescue ship reached them and broke them out. They made it home safe.
    From reading the comments below, you folk need to get out more.
    The Arctic is gaining ice as it cycles through the seasons.

  • How is (supposed) 250,000 yearly deaths a cost to the northwest Passage??

  • SORRY to break it to you but the NWP is the QUEENS LAND contracted by the English crown's common wealth to be Governed by Canada. The USA will never be able to force it as an international shipping rout the problem is England will veto anything regarding it at the UN security council as they have a permanent seat ! It is a pipe dream. XD

  • The meek shall inherit the earth , after Europeans succeed in exterminating each other .

  • How is the last piece regarding cost per change in degrees calculated??? U.S. is very diverse in climate from NY and Texas!

  • Melting arctic sea ice does not change sea level.

  • Awesome, now we get all the crap from China, one week earlier.


  • It's called LonDon not LonNon you fucking dweeb. Blow your fucking nose, grow up and learn how to speak.

  • 250,000 deaths a year from "global warming."
    Abortionist says "Hold my Beer"

  • The Ice Age will be here soon.

  • Climate bla bla. I don't care if the tards extinct themselves after I'm dead. Don't care now.

  • and it just may freeze up again……………………………..

  • Dumbass, 30 years us enough time for 25000 people to move to higher ground,, provided it will happen

  • Canada most certainly should not have to foot the bill for safe passage. Profiting or otherwise restricting… That's a different story.

  • Pori mainittu!

  • It's Romania, not Moldova…in the Danube section. Jesus…

  • Global warming bad, m'kay? This is sponsored by a company that uses vast amount of power. mostly made in the USA using fossil fuels. Mixed message bruv, have a little think eh?

  • It is STUPID to ignore that melting of North Pole ice does NOT influence sea level – zero / nada.


  • Capitalists like climate change.

  • China declares all water touches China and all oceans belong to China….

  • Can't predict weather accurately 2 weeks out, but expect us believe there's going to be no ice. What does it matter if we're supposed to be dead in 12 years anyway?

  • When its suits USA own purposes, USA will make an excuse for it to be convenient. Typical Americans. Face it that area is Canadian property. People pay to pass Suez built by the US, make it free then US can complain. Modern day America is like the 1939's of Nazi Germany. Just want to claim and steal.

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