Arctic supply chain reliability in Baffin Bay and Greenland

Jacob Taarup-Esbensen, Ove Tobias Gudmestad

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Despite the obvious economic advantages of utilising supply chains across the northern routes, there are significant challenges to their reliability. Every year an increasing number of ships venture into the region to supply, extract or transit the most northern parts of the world. However, supply chain reliability has been a significant challenge for ship operators, despite technological and organisational innovations. This paper investigates the hazards that face Arctic supply chain reliability in the region surrounding Baffin Bay and Greenland as well as the technological and organisational developments that are adopted to mitigate them. A bow-tie approach is used to illustrate the challenges faced by the shipping industry. We conclude that increased traffic will require significant investments in systems and infrastructure developments to manage Arctic hazards, thereby increasing reliability. Specifically, protective barriers like emergency response and icebreaker capacity need to be upgraded and positioned closer to emerging shipping lanes. Northwest Canada and Greenland are both poorly covered in terms of helicopter search and rescue and icebreaker availability. The consequence is that, with the increase in traffic outside the traditional busy routes in the south, supply chains lack access to effective Arctic hazard barriers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolar Geography
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)77-100
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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