The key to success is the synergy: International stakeholder meeting in Riga

The key to success is the synergy: International stakeholder meeting in Riga

On January 22, an international stakeholder meeting was organized in Riga, during which interested persons could get acquainted with Latvia’s national strategy on transport development, as well as see the close connection between national and international goals and initiatives that could help to achieve them. Presenters included both domestic and foreign experts.

Presenting the Latvian Transport Development Guidelines 2027, Inta Rozenšteine of the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Latvia acknowledged that

“projects such as the Baltic Loop are very important for the policy implementation on national level.”

She also looks forward to contributing to the Baltic Loop.

RB Rail Latvia spokesman Ģirts Braman introduced the objectives of the major cross-border project and how far it has gone.

He encouraged projects to use the opportunity and share relevant information and data.

“No project, even on a scale like Rail Baltica, will be effective unless synergies are sought.” Mr Braman said he was very interested in what the results of the Baltic Loop project would be and saw that they could be important for the transport industry as a whole.

Representatives from Finland also shared their solutions for traffic facilitation, presenting the concept of Mobility as service and virtual queuing GoSwift.

An interesting panel discussion highlighted a number of key issues, such as the role of the public sector in promoting innovation; the extent to which we are prepared to work on common standards that allow solutions to cross borders rather than stop at them. The audience also remarked that the development of multi-modal points removes their accessibility in sparsely populated areas, in fact having the opposite effect.

A strong but true statement came from the hall: “The world is full of strategies, but what about the practical implementation of theory?”

After a fruitful discussion, the participants went on an exchange of experience to the Adazi municipality and Skulte port.

International stakeholder meeting 22 January 2020/ RIGA

International stakeholder meeting 22 January 2020/ RIGA

International stakeholder meetings organized by the project BALTIC LOOP is an important platform to exchange information, challenges, contacts. It is also the best place to collaborate to come up with new solutions that will benefit the industry of efficient transport of freight and passengers along the Baltic Sea corridors with yet undiscovered potential.

The event AGENDA for 22nd January 2020 includes the following topics:

  • Rail Baltica – project development and future perspectives / presented by Ģirts Bramans, RB Rail, Latvia
  • Latvia transport development guidelines 2027 / presented by Inta Rozenšteine, Ministry of Transport, Latvia
  • Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept / presented by Filip Djupsjöbacka, Kyyti, Finland
  • Virtual Queuing for cargo transport / TBA, Go Swift, Finland

At the end of the meeting, participants are offered the opportunity to take a small site visit tour to the nearby municipality and port.

Local kick-off in Finland: 3 December, 2019

Local kick-off in Finland: 3 December, 2019

The seminar focused entirely on the freight bottlenecks in the North corridor (see map of the Northern Corridors below). The main  focus was attached to the bottlenecks and solution findings  in the cargo traffic, especially from the point of view of ports, terminals and transport infrastructure. The event was organized by two project partners – Turku University of Applied Sciences and Åbo Akademi University in Finland.

The seminar was initiated by three initializing presentations, that handled with transport corridor problems, bottlenecks  and development targets.  After each presentation, there were the opportunities to present  questions, arguments  and comment allegations actively to lecturers through VoxVote® online feedback system. All questions and answers were deposited to the system for later use.

After the initials, the seminar was resumed as a group work where the participants were divided into two groups to reflect on freight transport problems and bottlenecks, as well as their solutions and future trends in freight transport. The initials serve as a conduit for the actual work.

The work of the working groups resulted in a build-up of existing problems and solutions.

In working groups, in particular from the freight transport and port handling perspective,those are the flow of information between the various actors, the automation of information and the transparency and lack of information between the various actors, the content of the package and security in the future; What can be loaded on the same ship, better predictability of schedules, poor compatibility of rail and truck traffic, poor logistical location of terminals.

The proposals for solutions were presented in a more advanced combination of transport, better transport cooperation;  different pricing policy, technical solutions in ports and terminals. The establishment and development of resting areas, the real-time stabling of transport, the splitting of transport and the increase in freight frequency on the smallest vessels.

The seminar on transport solutions has attracted great interest in Latvia

The seminar on transport solutions has attracted great interest in Latvia

In mid-October, transport experts, specialists, and innovators gathered in Līgatne (Latvia). The high number of attendees confirmed that the transport sector also needs to work on new ideas and new solutions.

The workshop brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from ministries, associations, executive bodies and municipalities.

There were also representatives of several societies that bring various innovations to meet the challenges of mobility on a daily basis, as well as representatives of several companies engaged daily in research, development projects, strategies, and evaluations. The seminar program was deliberately designed to give the widest possible vision of the opportunities and solutions already available for the development of the sector.

It was emphasized that the real needs of the identified audience are the basis for effective and good solutions to improve traffic. Another important aspect to take into account, when planning mobility, is the interaction between the different scales: not only at the local or municipal level but also at the regional, national and international levels.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, informing those present about the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly transport outside the big cities, stated that municipalities can be considered as a significant influence on the development processes in the regions.

Introducing Baltic Loop to Riga stakeholders

Introducing Baltic Loop to Riga stakeholders

September 17, 2019 Vidzeme Planning Region and Riga Planning Region participated in MadCity seminar-workshop “Mobility Points in Latvia – Strategic Illusion or Great Regional Opportunity?”

The event brought together specialists and experts responsible for the planning, promotion and implementation of mobility in Latvia on a daily basis, including the Minister of Transport Talis Linkits.

Given the wide representation of the industry in the audience, it was a great opportunity to share the plans of the recently launched Interreg Central Baltic Program project BALTIC LOOP, which raises issues of a similar nature.

Baltic Sea logistics in a changing environment: Baltic Loop Kick-off seminar in Tallinn

Baltic Sea logistics in a changing environment: Baltic Loop Kick-off seminar in Tallinn

Baltic Sea is connecting Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden into wide network of intertwined connections. We are physically around worlds most vulnerable sea basin and we are so related, that this little sea (0,45 % of the world oceans) is enjoying 10% of world sea-traffic. This puts us into difficult situation as logistics and transport are globally growing and prosperity is in direct connection with the intensity of trade. We all want to enjoy both strong economy and clean environment. The only option is to make transport chains and logistics more effective and sustainable.

Baltic Loop highlights important issues in the transport sector

Interreg Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020 project Baltic Loop is analysing the situation in the heart of Baltic Sea by investigating 3 corridors crossing the sea from east to west in Central Baltic Sea. The first task is to understand and identify bottlenecks and recognize potential for trade and logistics. At the same time the project is looking for ways to innovate our business models and see what is there in regards to digitalization and technology.

On 24th and 25th of September Baltic Loop project had Kick-Off Event in Tallinn. The discussions on two panels were only scratching the surface of the ambitious task. Policy makers panel was discussing the role of the public authority for transport and logistics.

According to Inna Nosach from Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, we are in the midst of changing environment and need to respond to new challenges. The ministry is preparing Transport and Mobility Master Plan 2021+. The plan is setting targets to create all accessible (8-80 year old principle), attractive, competitive, healthy and safe mobility and transport environment.

In the words of Association of Local Authorities Ida-Viru County development expert Hardi Murula, the transport flows in eastern border of Estonia have declined from heydays and all initiatives to smoothen the transport flows, to invite tourism and investments into infrastructure are welcomed with open arms.

Tõnis Hintsov, representing Estonian Supply Chain Association ProLog is spearheading the Single Window Initiative, an effort to digitalize the transport. In essence it is a noble task of taking our activities in chains of logistics into 21st century, meaning paperwork, tax, customs etc. and digitalizing the flow of information so that transport operators can concentrate on their main task instead of paperwork.

Discussions over digitalization were rather heated and currently we are dealing with the situation initiatives and all solutions in the market are trying to establish their platform as dominant where information is not so easy to acquire even for the noble cause. While technologically it is rather simple process, then exchange between companies, state and other relevant partners needs deeper trust. Additionally, we have several similar initiatives and all solutions in the market are trying to establish their platform as dominant.

Climate goals are going to shape the future of transport. This is one of the things that both panels were agreeing. The Baltic Sea has some initiatives like Sulphur Directive. It has forced the industry to make heavy investments as explained by DFDS Eesti managing director Peeter Ojasaar. While private sector understands the need for sustainable policies, then practice that offers predictability of new requirements and offers solutions would be appreciated. Logistics operators noted that clients are looking for the best price/timesaving ration in logistics, so paying extra for greener transport is not efficient policy. Environmental responsibility is appreciated and there are few clients that are asking for certificates, but in order to make sustainable policies to work, there has to be business advantage. Margus Sitsi, Business Manager in Port of Tallinn mentioned that their policy is to offer some discount on port fees for environmentally conscious companies as one simple example.

Port of Tallinn has made some significant investments in Smart Port solutions. Impact of smart queuing systems and just in time arrival for the trucks offer, especially to the ports in the centre of the city like Tallinn Old Harbour, a chance to free land needed for port operations, keep trucks waiting behind city borders and lessen the number of people needed for organizing loading and unloading. These developed Smart Port solutions are going to be adapted by ports of Stockholm and Helsinki.

Dynamics in the Baltic Sea trade are not as balanced as shipping companies would like, the number of Estonian export by the sea to Sweden is much larger than Swedish import to Estonia and only 5-10% of the total passengers to Estonia are coming from Sweden as explained by Peeter Ojasaar from experience of DFDS ferry operations between Paldiski – Kapellskar. The business model of trucking companies isn’t helping as well.

Inna Nosach stressed the importance of shift to rail as a policy and the whole region is hoping to a positive structural change in the logistics when Rail Baltic arrives. Aivar Jaeski, Country Manager of RB Rail AS for Estonia and Finland, is convinced that estimated annual load by 2030 on Rail Baltic of 5 million passengers and 16 tons of cargo are heavily underestimated and with sound business models can be exceeded significantly. And some of the main feeder lines for Rail Baltic in our region are these east-west corridors highlighted by project Baltic Loop. Urmas Peterson from Operail AS, said that it is going well for the railway logistics company, that used to be part of Eesti Raudtee, a state-owned railway and infrastructure company. Initiatives like Tartu-Sillamäe-Tartu container line, that are taking freight from trucks to railway, so there is a possibility. However, the real bottlenecks in railway are due to regulations and rules that can be even more severe obstacles than underdeveloped or outdated infrastructure in some cases.

In real life we are in a situation where road transport is growing faster that railway. Railway is far off from days when mainly oil and oil products from Russia were rolling through Estonian Ports. Since 2007 the decline of transit in Estonia has been heavy and both ports and railway have had to look for other markets and freight segments. The reasons of change in trade is partly due to Russian investments into ports like Ust-Luga, but mainly the reasons are political. Participating panellists expressed hope that pragmatic relations with our eastern neighbour could be possible. It is a hope with a slight chance of success since on the administrative level the discussions are reinstalled.

Paldiski – a hub for transport and industry

The second part of the Kick-off meeting was a visit to one of the busiest ports and industry hubs in Estonia, Paldiski. It is a small town with a very interesting and challenging history. Founded by Russian czar Peter I in 1715 and later, during soviet era, it was a closed city and a Soviet Navy nuclear submarine training centre. It has been a tough challenge to bring the city up from ashes after the Soviet Army left Paldiski in 1994. The impact is still visible in the city. Asso Nettan’s presentation about the Lääne-Harju Municipality goals showed also that some problems were still there and latest Estonian administrative reform to unify 4 municipalities, including City of Paldiski, into Lääne-Harju Municipality was not very smooth.

However, the history has made it possible to really invite industry into the city and as one of best natural ports in the Baltic Sea. The town has connections by both road and rail. Paldiski has become strong industrial town and two ports are attractive for logistics. Last large investment of near 1 billion euro in methanol plant has been decided and there is still great potential to attract further investments that serve both growth and carbon neutrality as explained by Peep Siitam, representative of Team Paldiski.

The day ended with a tour to Paldiski South Port operated by Port of Tallinn. Hopefully persons participating in this visit got better understanding of port operations and can appreciate the significance of modal hubs for logistics.

All Baltic Loop project partners are looking forward to finding common solutions to problems raised during kick off meeting and to continuing dialog with stakeholders in the area.