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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Sandlin from Smarter Every Day are already out. Links are in the description. You can also support Wendover Productions
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Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. I dunno how you can contend Canada's rights to the shipping route when the Panama canal and Suez canal have preserved their independent national rights for a century or more.

    At least give them time to develop. Don't be a dick to Canada.

  2. The "saved" fuel will just be again used in MORE commercil trips through the route. Its not "good" for the climate, its good for the commerce. Its funny how channels like this one are presenting the melting of the ice caps as something too be happy about. Goodbye coastal regions, hello bad weather and drouts

  3. Whole lotta spurious stats and dubious predictions floating around here. In fact, since this vid appeared the news has been of massive increase in arctic – and antarctic -sea ice
    And btw melting sea ice does not raise sea levels.

  4. Shipping routes through the Arctic are nothing new. They are available periodically when the ice clears in summer and there is daylight 24/7.
    Melting sea ice is already in the sea so it doesn't cause it to rise. Glaciers melting on land going into the water is how the sea level could rise.

  5. This is Pro US in EVERY. SINGLE. IDEA.

    The Panama canal also has a tax to pass through, but there is no problem with it for you, because it is indirectly controlled by the US.

    So someone already has control over who delivers what and who gets faster travel time and who doesn't.

    Canada should keep the waterways in their territory and also TAX the heck out of the US.

    US citizens think they are entitled to anything they want and that they are the best.

    Duck you!

  6. Oh for fucks sake. Give Canada the extra revenue, they don't really have anything. anyways.

    An act of war ?
    Im sorry Canada but I'm pretty sure even mexio could over throw Canada in 1 v 1

    I'm joking. but seriously. I think it's Canadas waters. they should set up shop and charge a few grand just to pass through. You'd still be saving money, as for them restricting access from specific countries. I say it's ok. don't piss off Canada and you're good. that shouldn't be that difficult.

  7. Why is this loonie going off about how good it would be if the arctic melted? I really don’t think that’s a good thing you make it sound like “oh whatever we lost one of our earths poles no big deal we can get iphones for cheaper tho”

  8. Absolutely worth it! Hell I'd sail us coast guard ships to prove how weak Canada is. Canada is just an unofficial territory of the US. They are only free because we let them be.

  9. Did any of those guys ever go to school? If floating ice melts, the waterlevel does not change at all !

  10. trump and canada have a deal to share costs for helicopter patrols and coast guard needed and keeping an eye on life and limb. medical arrangements cause this will become a big deal five years from now. its all about money.

  11. Canada is awesome ✌️. That being said lol war with the USA might be a good idea ? think of all the rebuild cash we would have to pay and we would feel really bad.

  12. Well maybe those 6 new 7000t Arctic Patrol ships for the Canadian Navy will be useful after all. I hear they are even building a couple especially for the coast guard too. Just to keep the shipwrights busy before they start constructing the 15 type 26 frigates. With three newly purchased heavy icebreakers and a class 8 icebreaker waiting on a free shipyard

  13. It's our water and should remain ours. That being said, we should charge ships to sail through and then use the money to invest in more arctic infrastructure. Win-win.

  14. people constantly talking about Northpole and Arktic and melting but not about the MAGNETIC NORTHPOLE. Every sailor knows that he needs the magnetic Northpole for navigating. Now the magnetic Northpole is shifting since years and does it faster every year. About 30 years ago it was close to the NorthPole but today its over Siberia (Russia) and the speed of the shifting is growing. The magnetic northpole is not just just a number, its also in duty for the magnetic field of the planet. so if it moves, the magnetic field moves and the magnetic field is in duty for keeping sunrays away or filter them out…ever heard of the Aurora Borealis, the Northern lights?? thats exactly where you see this magnetic field of the earth.
    Earth will get warmer and warmer in certain places while colder and colder in others. 50.000years ago the Northpole was in Australia….check where the ice was during this time 😉

  15. By 2015 the Arctic could be ice free, so said the video. What rubbish! It is 2019 and the ice is back. The American Democrat Party and leftwing socialists are pushing the global warming hoax. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, if the solution for global warming was lower taxes, fewer regulations and less intrusive government, the issue would vanish. So says Somerton's Law which I've seen several places on line. This makes sense.

  16. Ice that is already on water, such as arctic ice, can't increase sea level and 100 per cent of scientists know and admit. If you don't understand this you need to study basic physics laws, like the Archimede's principle.

  17. The scam vid claims global warming is opening up the Arctic when the ice minima for summer is unchanged for 10 years, there is no unprecedented decline in ice, and it is not opening up at all. It is all just made up shit. The one tanker, if its story is even true, got through on a two week low ice window.

  18. Isn't there a rule that a certain distance from the land, that water becomes property of the county. And since all the islands are Canadian, they have all the right to claim those canals that are very close to all those islands

  19. Why does America always have to claim ownership (or take away) Of other countries land. This waterway LITERALLY goes straight through our largest territory who on earth are we expected to be ok with having other countries go as they please through our land carefree?? And guess who would have to clean up the mess any country leaves behind ? CANADA

  20. How can melting floating sea ice lead to a sea level rise?. Back to your elementary Physics textbooks.

  21. In 2018 I read about an expedition that went in MWP to prove sea ice is melting. They got frozen solid, and had to abandon the ship.

  22. 9:07 – what are these figures based on? 250k deaths? from what exactly? that isnt even many deaths in the grand scheme of a planet that will soon house 10 billion. i appreciate that there's nothing wrong with extrapolating and that predictions are inherently very unreliable so you cannot ask too much – but you can't be pulling numbers out of your ass like this

  23. Obviously Canada MUST respect the law of the sea and declare it international waters since they signed it to law in 1982 and ratified it in 2003!!!

    Law of the Sea: United Nations convention

    Official title: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

    Subject category: Marine / Oceans
    Type of agreement / instrument:
    Form: Legally binding
    Treaty Status:
    Opened for signature and signed by Canada on: December 10, 1982.
    In force: November 16, 1994.
    Ratified by Canada: November 7, 2003.
    In force for Canada: December 7, 2003.

    ANYONE saying anything else then declaring it international waters is a hypocrite and a complete idiot. That water passage is international water by law and does not belong to Canada.

  24. "By 2050, climate change is expected to kill more than 250,000 people a year. Surely that can't be worth it."

    Multi-billion dollar corporations that control our governments would vastly disagree with you.

  25. well by now Trudeau has given away all our money to feminist indoctrination in third world countries and bringing over millions of migrants (not refugees) in order to replace the white race so I'm gonna go ahead and say unless we get rid of him in October there will never be the needed infrastructure up North.

  26. The whole presentation is full of errors. Even if the entire arctic ice cap would melt, oceans level would not rise, because the whole arctic ice cap sits on the ocean not land.

    Ice breakers must open up the northwest passage every year. Without ice breakers, not one single ship would make it through during the summer.

  27. So what you're saying is, Canada needs some democracy and freedom? Lets be honest it wouldn't be hard for us to conquer Canada, all the have is maple syrup. While delicious its not an effective weapon.

  28. If canada claims the north west passage is internal then the US/Russia should just duel claim the bering strait and stop only canadian ships from going through

  29. The USA doesn't realize that Canada has a formidable largest air force… Canadian Geese. Beware, you attack Canada, you get the goose.

  30. Canada then should agree to war with Island, and start charging. Also, Polish Odra and Wisła are NOT international waters to give Czech and Slovakia access to Baltic.

  31. Russia is way ahead of Canada on taking advantage of a reduction of ice in the Arctic. Nuclear icebreakers, planning for ports etc….

  32. "Canada will be able to choose which economies succeed and which will fail"

    It's the future: I see Canada paying for that northern Search & Rescue capability by using the billions of dollars in b̶r̶i̶b̶e̶s̶ aid it is getting from China, Europe and…every country on Earth that ships goods.

  33. The North Atlantic has actually gone up by almost 1 mm in the last 40 years – Florida was to be under water by now. Its all bull shit about ocean rise – however the North is Opening and Canada will have to be prepared to defend its territories.

  34. That's Canadian water.. Without a doubt.. . Canadian Land on both sides.. China is already demanding access, Yet, another reason for War…. They worry about Global warming costing money… WAR cost a hell of a lot more…

  35. The SS Manhattan (tanker) became the first commercial ship to cross the Northwest Passage in 1969. You totally missed that one.

  36. This is a tough one. On the one hand international maritime law is international maritime law, but on the other hand I see the Canadians point of view. All of the other declared short cuts are literally that – SHORT cuts – except for maybe the Danube River one mentioned in the video. In the case of NWP you're talking about saying one country has to allow everyone else to travel hundreds or maybe even a thousand miles through it. This is a bit of a unique situation. I side with Canada's claim. If Canada wants to control the passage and limit the type and origin of ships that can pass through, then that should be their choice. If Canada wants to ban ships like an Exxon Valdez that could severely damage the environment, that should be their choice. If they want to ban military vessels, that should be their choice. What if Russia or Chinese air craft carriers want to transit the passage? Then they could effectively launch a surprise attack on Canada from the heart of their own country. Yeah I'm with Canada all the way on this the more that I think about it.

  37. International trade needs to be abolished! It is an outdated system of distribution that should have gone the way of the tall ships. Have governments barter. (swap) needed raw materials from one country to another and then you produce your own shit in your own home country. Shipping food clothes cars furniture building materials fuel and luxury goods between countries on opposite sides of the planet is so wasteful and those diesel oil guzzling ships each throw more pollutants into the air than 10 smoky factories of equal size! Countries could find ways to be more cooperative with each other when the completion between each other is finished. International sports competitions could counter concerns about less competition weakening the gene pool globally.

  38. So because of the arctic melting, Island nations are going underwater and the natural environment of the Arctic is being destroyed….

    But hey, at least we can ship for cheaper!

  39. The north west passage and fresh water have been not negotiable lt is a Canadians decision whether we allow passage lt is our country so f,,,,,K off There is people living there , they are called Inuit AND THEY WILL DECIDE THEY'RE FUTURE NOT THE U.N. THE NORTH IS ALL PART OF CANADA, !

  40. Too bad this video is somewhat factual while really being a sham about man made global warming. 10,000 years ago north america experienced a warming period which melted the glacial cover of most of Canada and much of north central United States with no input by stone ago man and its been in force ever since. If you'd like to talk about pollution and how we reduce it fine I'm all ears. Rather than patting ourselves on the back for outlawing plastic straws how about we get much of the western pacific islands to stop using their beaches as garbage dumps? How about we get communist China to stop allowing the unregulated burning of fossil fuels year around with vehicle pollution? Its not the damn straws!

  41. I still remember back in the early 2000's when Russia put a flag on the Ocean floor in the Arctic. Our government here in Canada lost its shit. Ahaha. But yeah. If other countries can charge so can we.

  42. so this must be the real reason why wealthy nations on a purpose, causing global warming. never mind those small islands being under water, never mind those strong typhoons destroy countries in the pacific. what's matters most is the benefits of having new trade routes that will cut off the cost of long travel.

  43. I hope the natives are in on this deal or it’s just white wash only like the rest of North America deals with native Indians

  44. It's mid-2019 and some people still believe in the "Global Warming" fantasy. The only proof of Global Warming is from government funded scientists.

  45. So longer growing and construction seasons, shorter and less frigid winters, lower heating costs, faster and easier infrastructure construction and maintenance and all the other countless advantages to life in warmer climates will somehow cause the loss of trillions of dollars in economic output and value? Does anyone stop for one damn second to think about how absolutely idiotic the global warming crap is? I mean what the hell??? It’s so stupid.

  46. Also, the Canadians throwing a temper tantrum because we sent a coast guard cutter through the passage is hilarious. What on earth is Canada going to do? Invade New York and Michigan? The only reason Canada exists in the first place is because the USA allows it to. If not for the US military and population Canada would be a nomadic tribe living in tents. Act of war? Please. Shut up and go back to the irrelevance you’ve always been. If we want to use the northwest passage we will. In fact if we decide it’s international waters, there is literally nothing you can or will do about it. Consider yourselves lucky we don’t charge Canadians to use it.

  47. The Northwest passage was navigable, before the ''Little Ice Age''.
    The numerous expeditions around the turn of the century were to rediscover that route.

  48. predicting the weather next week is pretty tuff, predicting the weather out to 2050 is impossible, great video right up to the crazy talk, anyways we could be in an ice age by then and drive trucks over it. remember when Al gore said all the costal cities would be under water by 5 years ago and it didn't happen its a cycle its happened before it will happen again, if it wasn't for those damn cave man during the last ice age with all those damn campfires warming up the planet and driving the ice sheets back, they would have all died and we wouldn't have to deal with this right now cause none of us would have been born

  49. This is another reason among many the that US is giving china renewed greef in tariffs, chinas trade stands to gain a great lot soon in the north west passage when its passage is open for navigation more regularly…

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