Director General Henrik Hololei participates in Rail Baltica stakeholder dialogue in Helsinki-Uusimaa
In the picture (from the left): Sari Artjoki, Jukka Savo (country coordinator for Finland at DG MOVE), Henrik Hololei, Petri Lempiäinen (Fenniarail).
– Rail Baltica is a booster to economic development in all Baltic States and this will reflect positively also to Finland. We hope for strong commitment from Finland to the project. Finland has participated actively in the process as an observer and we hope that Finland will join the joint venture RB Rail AS as shareholder, DG Hololei said.
Rail Baltica to improve international accessibility of Finland
The Rail Baltica project, with a total budget of over 5 billion euros and strongly supported by the European Commission with CEF funding, is planned to be constructed by the end of year 2026. The railway will offer passenger and freight services from Tallinn through the Baltic States to Poland where it connects to the Central European railway network. For the Finnish export sector Rail Baltica will offer a land connection especially to the eastern and southern EU markets and towards Asia.
Besides Rail Baltica the discussions during the day touched upon major transport development scenarios of the EU and Finland including Helsinki–Tallinn fixed link, Arctic rail, Airport rail and connections to Russia. These development plans, with Rail Baltica as the first priority, are a vision to improve considerably the international accessibility of Finland.
EU transport policy tackles carbon footprint
DG Hololei highlighted the guidelines of the European transport policy which focuses now strongly on the carbon footprint in the form of emission sanctions, on one hand, and supporting alternative fuels, on the other. Digitalisation and technological development enable diversification of transport services, such as Mobility as a service (MaaS).
– To tackle transport emissions fiercely in all modes of transport is now a high priority in the European transport policy. The modal shift from road to rail, however, is difficult especially in long transnational freight transport due to unreliability of the rail service and its slow speed, said Hololei.
Mr. Kaspars Rokens of RB Rail AS and representatives of the Finnish export companies underlined the importance of logistics in the service chain.
– The location and performance of logistics centers in relation to the railway network is a key question in the rail service design. Information of the expectations of the Finnish export companies is strategically important to our company in order for us to be able to design logistics services of Rail Baltica into a competitive concept from the very beginning. I hope for an active dialogue between Finnish companies and RB Rail, said COO Rokens
What about other mega projects?
Helsinki–Tallinn fixed link, Arctic rail and Airport rail are frequent topics in the Finnish media and they were raised also by the Finnish transport stakeholders several times during the day. DG Hololei reminded of the difficult financial situation that the European Union is facing under the shadow of Brexit.
– Our common challenge in the EU is to adapt to the 12 billion euros loss that Brexit will cause to the budget. It is true that big transport projects can stimulate growth and interaction in societies, but they can still be simply too expensive as investments, said DG Hololei.
The question of international accessibility of Finland links strongly to Rail Baltica.
– Our first and foremost goal is to construct Rail Baltica as planned
and this will bring a tremendous improvement to the Baltics but also to
Finland’s current position like an island separated by the Baltic Sea, said DG Hololei.
The Finnish export sector was represented by Mr. Jari Voutilainen, Senior Vice-Prsident of Logistics, and Mr. Pasi Pulkkinen, Vice-President of Land Logistics at Metsä Goup, CEO of Finavia Mr. Kimmo Mäki, Logistics Council of Confederation of Finnish Industries chaired by Mr. Jyri Häkämies and Techonology Industries of Finland represented by Director of Industrial Policy Mr. Matti Mannonen, Ms. Pirjo Hietanen from Boliden Group and Mr. Esa Eerikäinen from EP Logistics Oy.
Lumi and Mr. Andres Kask from META Advisory participated in
the discussion as strategic advisers on Rail Baltica Business Network to the
European Commission. The pan-Baltic joint venture RB Rail AS in Riga was
represented by Chief of Operations Mr. Kaspars
Rokens. The Representation of the European Commission to Finland was
represented by Head of Office Ms. Sari
Artjoki. The program was coordinated and moderated by Ms. Malla Paajanen, Chief Adviser at Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.
For more information, please contact:Chief Adviser Malla Paajanen, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council,
tel. +358 50 366 7391