The industrial potential in the Arctic is significant, from minerals and raw materials to energy resources.
At the same time, there are transport challenges due to remoteness, harsh Arctic climatic conditions, ice-covered waters, and lack of necessary support infrastructure. This makes year-round operations difficult. Therefore there is a great need to develop good infrastructure and plan efficient transport systems. For this to happen, the development of expertise and exchange of experiences across national borders is crucial.
The UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Transport and Logistics (ATL) is a cooperation between the Centre for High North Logistics (CHNL), Murmansk State Technical University in Russia, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Hokkaido University in Japan, and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in Norway. ATL strives to develop innovative, green and optimized transport and logistics systems in the High North. Its main focus is on Arctic maritime transport, and through a new project, it will also analyze maritime connections to rail, air and river transport.
The ATL network, consisting of members from the entire circumpolar area, will collect research and knowledge on Arctic logistics and transport with the aim to develop the necessary competence. Through three workshops, joint research and increased student mobility, ATL will work to build bridges between local communities, industry and authorities in the Circumpolar North. In addition, the network will engage in international forums such as the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group.
ATL will work to enhance knowledge about Arctic climate and ecosystems, as well as preserving Indigenous peoples’ interests. This will be incorporated into new educational programs and also disseminated to Arctic businesses and authorities. The project will establish research teams on specific topics and assess all potential sources for joint research across borders. Through close cooperation, case studies and scenario analysis, ATL highlights logistical challenges and solutions in the Arctic.
Minimizing environmental impacts of shipping and other Arctic commercial operations is of great importance and relies on using up-to-date research results. By establishing research teams on specific topics related to Arctic transport, the network strives to find possible solutions to national and international problems. Engaging new researchers and stakeholders in the Arctic is also an important part of the project activities. One approach is determining the demand for new educational programs with focus on Arctic logistics and transport infrastructure development. Sharing knowledge from Norway to Japan through the development of a joint master’s degree program, student exchange, faculty mobility among the network members, and professional courses for practitioners is the foundation for future opportunities in the Arctic.