NewsFrom Arctic glaciers to UAE bars: Greenland's startup reinvents ice trade amid backlash

From Arctic glaciers to UAE bars: Greenland's startup reinvents ice trade amid backlash

Greenlandic glaciers will provide ice for exclusive bars in Dubai.
Greenlandic glaciers will provide ice for exclusive bars in Dubai.
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
2:47 PM EST, January 9, 2024

The company Arctic Ice, established by Malik V Rasmussen, plans to export this valuable product to the United Arab Emirates. Wealthy residents of the region are willing to pay for H2O that hasn't been contaminated by human activity or impacted by soil.

Compared to regular ice, glacier ice is completely bubble-free, melts at a slower pace, and is even cleaner than mineral water.

According to The Guardian, such an enterprise could aid Greenland's ecological transformation and spearhead economic revitalization in a region with limited business opportunities.

Arctic Ice sources its ice from Greenland's fjords and then ships it to the United Arab Emirates, where it is served in high-end drinks at exclusive bars.

A unique business idea from Greenland

The startup was founded in 2022, and only recently shipped its first 44 thousand pounds of ice to customers. Initially, as reported by The Guardian, the concept of Arctic Ice faced significant criticism.

Rasmussen even received death threats due to public outrage over the idea of exporting ice from glaciers in a time of global climate crisis.

Despite this, the company contends that its operations do not harm the environment. The ice is sourced from fjords surrounding Greenland, which are frequently filled with icebergs detached from glaciers linked to the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Arctic Ice uses a specialized boat equipped with a crane to search for a specific kind of ice in Nuup Kangerlua, a fjord near Greenland's capital, Nuuk. The targeted ice is the one which hasn't come into contact with either the fjord's base or the glacier's top, making it difficult to find as it's completely transparent.

This sought-after commodity is packed in boxes, placed in a refrigerated container, and shipped to Denmark by Icelandic carrier Eimskip. From Denmark, it sails to Dubai, where a local distributor trades different types of ice already.

Arctic Ice ensures that the transportation process is synchronized to maximize efficiency. Their ice occupies cargo holds previously used for other goods delivered to Greenland. Given that Greenland imports more frozen goods than it exports, it eliminates empty return journeys.

Rasmussen's primary goal is to generate new revenue streams for his region, which heavily relies on financial support from Denmark. "In Greenland, all our income is derived from fishing and tourism. I've wanted to find another profitable industry for us for a long time," stated the founder of Arctic Ice.

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