European Coordinator of the North Sea – Baltic Core Network Corridor Pavel Telička and Chief Advisor James Pond visited Helsinki on March 10, 2014. The logistic node of Helsinki is part of the two TEN-T Core Network Corridors: the North Sea – Baltic, and Scandinavian – Mediterranean Corridors. The event Helsinki at the crossroads – the economic potential for Finland, organized jointly by the City of Helsinki and AmCham Finland, brought together stakeholders of both the public and business communities. The event was moderated by Ms. Kristiina Helenius, CEO of AmCham Finland.
The event was opened by Mayor Jussi Pajunen who underlined the importance role of fluent transport connections and especially port connections to the capital. Coordinator Telička acknowledged the active role that the City of Helsinki has had in international transport development and pointed out Finland as an important supporter to the idea of Rail Baltic. According to Mr. Telička, the Core Network Corridors as the highest hierarchical level of the TEN-T strategy implementation can significantly increase regional integration and positively build cross-border connections along the Corridor.
Professor Olli-Pekka Hilmola from the Lappeenranta University of Technology, Kouvola Unit, emphasized the necessity of the Finnish export industry to actively look for alternative transport routes given that the EU’s sulphur regulation will become effective in 2015. Chief Advisor Pond also highlighted Finland as an export driven society that has long track in maritime transport. For Finland, the forthcoming Rail Baltic project – a modern railway service through the Baltic States – could offer a new land connection. This would increase the accessibility of Finland drastically.
The comments from the audience called for removal of the various administrative and business barriers that are currently hindering cross-border connections between the countries. The current situation relates strongly to the national railway companies that operate like monopolies. The question of the Helsinki-Tallinn fixed link - the tunnel - was also raised. The decision-makers tend to share the opinion that the tunnel is not reality in at least 20-30 years, but nonetheless it can be kept as a vision.