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Canadian 'Arctic passage' still a ways off: Transport minister

Published on Mar 26, 2014 6:21 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Logistical challenges to large-scale sea shipments within the Arctic Circle mean such trade will not be a near-term rival to existing routes, a senior Canadian official said on Tuesday.

Insurance companies are beginning to weigh the hazards of sea traffic across waterways in northern Canada and investors are mulling the potential using Arctic trade routes, said Canadian Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt.

"It is not imminent but it is possible," she said in Washington.

Shippers could trim thousands of miles on voyages between Asia and Europe if forecasts of melting ice caps are fulfilled and energy interests are eager to tap a region rich in oil and gas.

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