Arctic Transport Delivers Corridor Solutions

By MarEx 2014-06-23 16:59:00

From 11th till 12th of June, 2014, the TransBaltic Extension and LO-PINOD projects organised a joint conference in Bodø, the largest town in Nordland county. The Arctic Transport Days, hosted by the Port of Bodø (TransBaltic’s core partner), touched upon transport opportunities from the perspective of northern Europe, gathering about 50 participants from 10 countries, stakeholders of whole transport & logistics sphere, incl. the European Commission, academia, transport companies & associations, ports, consulting firms and media.

One of the main challenges faced by the logistics sector is how to secure a swift and secure flow of goods between more remote areas, such as the north of the Nordic countries and the Arctic, and their key markets on the continent - both in the North and the Baltic Seas regions as well as further south to the Adriatic and Mediterranean.

Participants of the Arctic Transport Days in Bodø underlined the role of the corridor solution in this regard. They put a special emphasis on the so-called Arctic-Central Europe Green Transport Corridor (ACE Green), stretching all the way from Bodø to the Swedish harbour in Karlskrona, where it meets the Baltic-Adriatic Axis. Combined, they form the Arctic-to-Adriatic Corridor (A2A). Paweł Stelmaszczyk, European Commission’s Special Envoy for the European Mobility Networks, DG MOVE, presented how the High North is seen from the European perspective and what financial support can be obtained for developing the north-south trade lane.

While the corridor approach forms a strategic framework, intermodal services are seen as a sound tactic to make the whole idea come true, something Per Strømhaug (Port of Bodø) very much underlined in his presentation. Intermodal services are regarded as the best way to establish eco-efficient southbound transportation of e.g. fresh seafood and containerised industrial products from northern Scandinavia to the south – and fruit, vegetables or other commodities from back to the north.

Nonetheless, setting up intermodal links going as far as to the very north of Europe takes time and requires overcoming substantial hurdles such as balancing the import/export ratio, competing with cheap truckers, along with convincing the fairly conservative transport industry to become more environmentally-friendly.

Apart from the corridor discussion, another of TransBaltic Extension main partners, Port of Hamburg Marketing, presented the potential of short sea shipping and 45-footers for facilitating east-west container traffic between the Baltic Sea and North Range ports. As a supplement, Wim Stubbe (Port of Oostende) of the LO-PINOD project talked about extending North Sea routes to the Baltic region, while Laurienne Tibbles (Institute for Sustainability) highlighted how to diversify harbours in the North Sea.

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