The South Baltic Sea area plays an important role as a gateway for transport between Scandinavia and Continental Europe, and in relation to the European and Asian hinterlands further away. The area functions as a market place for intermodal transport services, where ports offer interfaces to a wide range of destinations for passengers and goods. This area has the potential to become one of the most dynamic growth regions in Europe. Major regional economic and cultural differences in the area provide unique challenges and possibilities for increased integration and cohesion. Although, many different factors influence whether promotion of regional development is successful or not, it is clear that the transport system is of decisive importance.
In order to strengthen the efficiency and sustainability of the transport system, regional authorities in the area, national transport administrations, port authorities, chambers of commerce as well as private stake-holders, joined forces in the Interreg IIIB project Baltic Gateway. The initiative assembled 38 official partners from six countries.
The objective of Baltic Gateway was to carry out extensive studies to develop a common transport strategy for the Baltic Sea area, joining together regional and local authorities, ports, transport authorities and private stakeholders in seven countries.
The development of a comprehensive system of high quality transport and related services to connect Scandinavia, North West Europe, the European Continent, the Baltic Countries, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Asia, will promote economic growth and a sustainable development in the South Baltic Sea area, through improved accessibility within and between the regions.
The work in Baltic Gateway is carried out in four groups of activities:
- The focus of the first group of activities was the South Baltic Sea area in a European and global perspective, as a sustainable region relying on maritime transport. The work produced studies of transport flows and the transport infrastructure, regional impact of different transports scenarios and analysis of future capacity problems. More in detail, the work included the following tasks:
- The Gateway function. Positioning the South Baltic Sea area from a European and global perspective.
- Transport and travel flows. Compiling an overview of basic facts and available forecasts.
- A common view on the revised TEN. Defining primary transnational networks for the South Baltic Sea area and developing a common view on the revised TEN.
- Territorial impact assessment. Evaluation of the impact of future networks.
- Implementation and financing. Options to satisfy the demands for improved infrastructure.
- The second group of activities investigated ways of improving cohesion in the area through improved accessibility. Selected corridors and bottlenecks were investigated and concrete investments prepared. Development along the corridors Øresund-Gedser-Rostock-Berlin, Copenhagen-Ystad-Swinoujscie-Wroclaw, and Copenhagen-Blekinge-Klaipeda-Vilnius were studied. Road telematics installations for variable speed limits were installed and tested on road E22 in Blekinge. finally, a pre-feasibility study of a new railway route between Kristianstad and Southwestern Skåne was carried out.
- The third group of activities aimed at promoting sustainable transport and improving intermodal solutions through co-operation between private and public stakeholders. The intermodal freight market was analysed and concrete actions for improved intermodal solutions were proposed. Twinning arrangements between the ports of Karlshamn-Klaipeda, Trelleborg-Rostock, Karlskrona-Gdynia and Ystad-Swinoujscie were initiated. A system concept was developed for a cross-docking centre adapted to the conditions in Lübeck-Travemünde. An ICT-based dangerous goods management system was developed in the port of Lübeck.
- The fourth group of activities dealt with issues related to political support and commitment around the emerging results. The work included:
- Development of a communication strat
Baltic Gateway carried out extensive studies on current transport conditions and trends, future scenarios and regional impacts of possible actions. Results and lessons learned were discussed at several seminars and conferences. Based on findings from this work, the project partners were able to draw overall conclusions for strengthening the gateway function of the South Baltic Sea area (see the section "Policy implications").
The final product of the project is the Baltic Gateway Quick Start Programme, which is a unique priority list of transnational investment projects agreed upon by regional political leaders in the South Baltic Sea area.
- The South Baltic Sea is in a global context a growth area. The South Baltic Sea area has the potential to sustain as one of the most dynamic growth regions in the world. Efficient and sustainable transport solutions are both a tool and a prerequisite to realise this potential. In this context, it is important to:
- balance growth-directed measures with measures aiming to promote a balanced population growth;
- improve services and infrastructure in between regions with economic disparities, as this will be more important for cohesion than measures in the existing high volume corridors;
- combine free trade, which is important for economic growth and cohesion, with harmonised regulation across borders, which is important for sustainability;
- provide the necessary measures to channel the increasing demand for transport into more sustainable modes of transport and mobility;
- provide measures to promote social cohesion within the area.
- The South Baltic Sea is a European Gateway. The prosperity of the area as a gateway region depends on its ability to:
- provide an interconnected land-and-sea network of multi-modal transport corridors;
- offer smooth intermodal transport in ports, along transport links and across borders, thereby securing fast, reliable and safe transport services of high quality;
- secure a high level of interoperability between modes of transport, with increased emphasis on railways and short sea shipping;
- put forward innovative solutions in cargo logistics, especially in port operations.
- The South Baltic Sea transport system requires special attention. Efficient and sustainable transport solutions in the South Baltic Sea area require trans-national co-operation among public and private actors at different levels. In this perspective, the Baltic Gateway Quick Start Programme aims to:
- ascertain political determination and long term commitment, across borders, levels and sectors, to develop and facilitate the use of sustainable transport modes;
- improve knowledge and connectivity among actors involved in cross-border and maritime-related intermodal transport chains;
- develop ports as intermodal hubs, providing smooth and efficient services;
- enhance infrastructure investments so that a comprehensive Trans European Network for intermodal