Christmas is celebrated all over the world, but if you asked a hundred people where they associate Christmas with, most of them would probably give you the same answer: the North Pole.
Despite the freezing conditions and logistical challenges, shipping lanes like the Northern Sea Route provide access to ports in the most northern climes of the Earth. But which are the main Arctic Ports?
1) The Port of Murmansk, Russia
Located on the banks of Kola Bay, just over 67 miles away from the border between Norway and Russia, the Port of Murmansk remains ice-free for the majority of the year.
This is because of the warm North Atlantic current, as well as the port’s nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Atomflot’. It is the only vessel of its type in the world, and is used to maintain the accessibility of Murmansk as the key headquarters of the Northern Sea Route.
2) The Port of Nome, Alaska, USA
Described as the “forefront” of America’s Arctic, Nome is visited by both freight ships and cruise ships.
According to Alaska Public Media, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has deliberated in 2018 over whether or not it should invest in the expansion of Nome’s port, as a deep-draft port capable of handling larger ships would be a first in US Arctic waters.
3) Nuuk Port and Harbour, Greenland
Perhaps the most northerly Arctic port, and certainly one of the coldest, Nuuk is the largest port in all of Greenland.
While the east side of the port area is able to accommodate larger vessels, the harbour entrance is restricted throughout the year due to the tide and significant amounts of ice.