DOI: 10.3390/jmse12010054 ISSN: 2077-1312

Changes in Accessibility of Chinese Coastal Ports to Arctic Ports under Melting Ice

Ran Zhang, Yi Zuo, Zhuo Sun, Shuang Cong
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

Global warming has accelerated the melting of Arctic sea ice, providing favorable conditions for Arctic shipping. Arctic ports are gaining prominence in shipping networks and international trade. Accessibility is a key indicator of port facilitation, and identifying trends in Arctic port accessibility holds significance for Arctic route planning and port development. To achieve this, this paper develops a modeling framework for assessing the accessibility of Arctic ports. First, we utilize the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) model to predict sea ice conditions and quantify the navigation risk for open water (OW) vessels and Arc4 ice-class (Arc4) vessels during the summer months of 2030–2050. The A-star (A*) algorithm is then used to plan the vessel’s shortest route while avoiding high-risk waters. Finally, changes in the accessibility of Arctic ports are calculated by using an improved gravity model. The framework is applied for the quantitative analysis of the accessibility of Chinese coastal ports to Arctic ports. The results indicate that accessibility to Arctic ports will gradually increase for all Chinese ports in the future, with the port of Shanghai continuing to maintain its prominence under the trend of melting sea ice.

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