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COMBINE partners visited the Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki

The third all-partner meeting for COMBINE project took place last week in Helsinki. In addition to the actual partner meeting, a site visit was organized to Vuosaari Harbour, which serves container and RoRo traffic and has frequent liner traffic to main ports in Europe.
The participants of the 3rd COMBINE partner meeting in Helsinki

Vuosaari is one of the harbours managed by the Port of Helsinki - a limited company owned by the City of Helsinki.  Pekka Hellström, Development Manager at the Vuosaari Harbour, guided the COMBINE group to the top floor of the Gatehouse, where the Port of Helsinki, its operations and development projects were presented to the international COMBINE team. Helsinki is the the leading general port for foreign trade in Finland. In 2019, a total of 14.4 million tonnes of goods were transported via the Port of Helsinki. Most of the goods transported are unitized cargo for Finland’s foreign trade, transported in trucks, trailers and containers.  With 533 810 TEUs, Port of Helsinki is a remarkable container port and container traffic accounted for 36.1% of unitized cargo. The main export commodities are products for the forest industry, machinery and equipment, whereas in imports the most prominent product group is daily consumer goods. 

Pekka Hellström described the participants the pricing model of the Port of Helsinki which aims at steering truck traffic to the harbours outside the city centre during rush hours. Under the new pricing model, trucks receive a discount for using Vuosaari Harbour, while the truck charges for the central harbours are increased during rush hours. With this model, the truck traffic in Vuosaari has increased by 33 per cent and the traffic in the central harbour areas has decreased by 4 per cent. To streamline port traffic, Port of Helsinki has also implemented digital solutions to optimise traffic and streamline vessels’ check-in functions through automation.

The participants were able to follow the daily operations at the Vuosaari Harbour from the top floor balcony. At the end of the visit, the group took a bus tour around the Vuosaari harbour, which has a perfect location in the metropolitan area in centre of population, production and consumption. There are excellent traffic connections to sea and to the main road network via the Ring III road. A 19 kilometre-long railroad from Vuosaari Harbour’s quays and terminals joins the main railway line in Kerava. The harbor is located also close to the airport.

After the tour around the Vuosaari Harbour, the bus took the COMBINE group for a sightseeing by the passenger terminals, which are located at the heart of Helsinki. In 2019, a total of 12.2 million ship passengers travelled via Helsinki to destinations such as Tallinn and Stockholm, maintaining its status as the busiest international passenger port in Europe.  

The partner meeting itself took place at the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, which recently celebrated its 1-year anniversary. This new tourist sight and a calling card for Finnish architecture ensured an enthusiastic and international atmosphere for the 2-day-meeting, where the partners presented the progress of their activities. The fruitful discussions related to international combined transport chains in the Baltic Sea Region, innovative handling technologies and terminal operations, regulations, COMBINE pilot projects and the promotion of COMBINE project itself gave support to the daily project work that is being made at 14 partner organizations in 8 different countries. At the end of the partner meeting, partners were invited to Vilnius, where the next partner meeting will take place in September.