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Russia outlines Arctic waterway ambitions

Russia outlines Arctic waterway ambitions

Tokyo: Russia intends to substantially increase the volume of cargo transportation across the Arctic waterway in accordance with plans to develop the country's Arctic and Far Eastern regions, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin said Thursday, ITAR-TASS reported. Levitin is taking part in a ministerial conference on environment protection and energy in the transport sector that is being held in Tokyo. The Russian government plans to create a free economic zone at the Far Eastern port of Vanino that will be linked through the northern waterway to a transportation hub in Murmansk in the northwest of Russia, Levitin said. "This is the shortest waterway linking Russia's Far East, as well as Japan, with Europe," he said. To develop the Arctic Region, the government plans to upgrade existing ports and build new ones on Russia's northern coast, namely on the Barents Sea and near the mouths of major Siberian rivers, he said. New marine safety services should be created and all ships and shipping companies should be equipped with receivers of Russia's global satellite navigation system GLONASS, Levitin said. Russia's fleet of icebreakers is able to ensure safe use of the northern waterway, he said, Also, Russian companies will build six nuclear icebreakers before 2020, he added. [16/01/09]

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