The board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has classified icebreaker and ice pilotage of ships along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a natural monopoly in Russia.

The decision, posted on the EEC website Thursday, goes into effect on March 29.

The NSR is the shortest sea route between European Russia and the Far East, and has historically served as Russia's national shipping route in the Arctic. The route serves ports on the Arctic and on the big rivers of Siberia.

One of the latest projects that will use the NSR is the world's biggest Arctic port for handling natural gas, Sabetta, which is being built by NOVATEK and Total.

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