04/27/2014 08:36 EDT | Updated 06/27/2014 05:59 EDT

No Benefit To Developing Arctic Shipping: U.S. Report

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A new report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office suggests there's no benefit to developing shipping infrastructure in the Arctic.  

The organization serves as a watchdog for federal spending, and says deep-water ports, mapping and other infrastructure improvements will only go so far in attracting more ships.

For the container-ship companies, the report says one problem is Arctic routes would be seasonal, while that industry needs steady, year-round schedules. 

The report also says mainstream cruise lines aren't drawn to the Arctic because the 10-day journey, typically in Alaska, is too long, the scenery unvarying and interesting ports too scarce.

Some U.S. policy makers like Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski disagree with the report.

She says Arctic maritime activity is on the rise due to the shrinking sea ice, and says now is the time to start building infrastructure.

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