The railway infrastructure of the Bothnian Corridor is of great importance for transnational cargo flows within EU and to the rest of the world and it is listed in the Baltic Sea Strategy action plan as an optional flagship project. The corridor is of great importance for all the states in the Baltic Sea Region and central Europe, for transports of cargo as well as for sustainable passenger transports.
The Green Corridor initiative was taken up on the EU agenda during the Swedish presidency in 2009, following the EC communications on a priority freight network (COM(2007) 608) and greening of transports (COM 2008:433). It is also motivated by numerous studies and reports on the potential for improved railway infrastructure, inter-modality and logistics for meeting the needs in the Baltic Sea Region and especially those caused by increased exploitation of natural resources in the Barents region.
The overall objective is to increase the integration between the northern Scandinavia and Barents, with its vast natural resources and increasing industrial production, with the industrial chain and end markets in the Baltic Sea Region and central Europe.
This will be done by improved planning, use and utilisation of the infrastructure in the Bothnian Corridor, by practicing green corridor concepts, promoting smooth inter-modal solutions and increasing collaboration between society, industry, transport and logistics stakeholders.
The project is conducted through 4 interlinked thematic work packages.
- WP3: Green corridor concepts, logistic nodes and terminals.
- WP4:Logistic chains and transport flows.
- WP5:Economic impact of infrastructure on regional and industrial growth.
- WP6: Bothnian transport strategy and stakeholders collaboration.
The project includes partners from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany and Poland. All partners have been selected on the basis of geographic or thematic interest and benefit and possible contribution to the project. The partners represents regional authorities, cities, publicly owned ports, national authorities, universities and one governmental department . Most of the partners come from the northernmost areas in Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Since the project aims for improving the integration of these areas along the value chain of natural resources, product and cargo flows, with the big markets in central Europe, key partners has been included in Germany and Poland, representating also regions, cities and ports. Outputs from the project should be evaluations, guidelines and improved business models, on how to increase the efficiency of the logistics in the transport flows from and to the nothern areas in the Baltic Sea Region. The project is supported by three ministries of transports.
To reach the project aim of a green corridor, we made an inventory of actors, freight flows and infrastructure in the BGLC-area. A structured case analysis of the bottlenecks, barriers and deficiencies categorized to identify actions and measures to overcome the inefficiencies towards a sustainable transport system. One of the weaknesses is the logistic nodes and terminals were the cargo need to shift from one mode of transport to another. One example of the short term actions proposed is to use innovative intermodal technologies for semitrailers with which we have shown that it is possible to lower transportation cost with 25%. Another is using a more effective model for feeder transport were we can save up to 40% and other small changes as quicker meets, heavier loads and faster empties have been suggested. A new methodology for maintenance of railway tracks have been developed that could be used for maintenance staff on the railroad in order to avoid capacity disruptive downtime.
One of the more long term actions is the suggestion on a Corridor Management structure for the BGLC-corridor that we presented. It is based on a wide commitment amongst all the stakeholders with different working groups for the business actors. Our aim has been to switch the transports from road to rail and sea and by working in close cooperation with cargo owners and private industry we have developed a new railway shuttle service between North Norway and Poland. We could also show that the combination of train and boat is at least 40 per cent more energy effective than the combination of truck and boat. We also developed business models and partnerships with the actors along the Northen Axis route between Narvik and Russia with a joint intermodal terminal on the border between Sweden and Finland to solve the problem with the difference in gauge width between Europe and Russia.
We have investigated the future strategic nodal network for the area which provides the BGLC-stakeholders with the roadmap for developing the corridor by identifying the most important logistical nodes and their future potential in the BGLC-area. We also examined the general wider impacts of transport infrastructure investments as well as developed an excel based tool to evaluate the wider economic impacts of railway investments on regional level. The tool both open- and easy to use but gives results that are based on comprehensive CGE modelling and simulation. All the results and finding made in co-operation – through interviews, public consultations and workshops, have been summarized in “The strategy of BGLC”, and is a roadmap for future work in developing the transport connections in the corridor. The strategy is agreed upon amongst all partners and will be used as a plan for the long term work in developing the corridor and forming a stakeholders forum for the future.