Maritime pundits believe a shrinking ice cap translates to a frenzy of traffic as shippers rush to exploit shorter sea routes. They’re wrong.
On 16 September 2012 the Arctic reached the point at which ice stops receding and begins to form anew with the approach of winter. Last year that ice minimum set a record at 1.32 million square miles—300,000 square miles less than the previous record minimum. 1 With that news comes the predictable flood of reports about the pending increase in Arctic shipping, how woefully unprepared the United States is to deal with that onslaught of traffic, and the need for large-scale investment in Arctic capabilities. 2