Russia has invested heavily in infrastructure to develop the Northern Sea Route and wants it to become a major shipping lane as the Arctic warms faster than the rest of the world. It is not currently used in winter due to the thick ice cover.
The route, which runs along Russia's northern flank, is currently used to ship hydrocarbons and other resources for up to nine months a year.
Officials want to increase cargo volumes shipped through the route to 80 million tons per year. Last year, it shipped 33 million tons of cargo.
Russia also has plans to build icebreakers powered by liquified natural gas and super powerful icebreakers to develop the route and make it more suitable for year-round navigation.
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