Russia began using the Northern Sea Route in 2010.
Russia has indeed been at the forefront of the recent flurry in Arctic shipping activity. Between 1906 and 2006, according to Der Spiegel, only 69 ships in total ventured far into the hazardous Canadian Arctic, yet in 2009 alone, approximately 24 were counted. Depending on the degree to which the previously unnavigable Northwest Passage continues to opens up (read: melt away), more states could start using it as a viable shipping route. However, at present there remains a significant degree of danger in using the newly accessible Arctic lanes, due primarily to fluctuating weather patterns in the Spring and Fall.
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