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Study of cargo flows in the Gulf of Finland in emergency situations

Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The Baltic SeaRegion (BSR) includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark,Sweden, Finland, Norway, north-western Russia and northern Germany. The BSR is an area of high economic growth. The region attracts foreign direct investments and it offers challenging but positive economic prospects.

The dominant mode of transport in the BSR is sea (about 76% of trade in BSR states), and other means of transport cover only 24%. In addition to their own import and export, Finnish and Estonian ports handle a major share of the Russian transit traffic. Finnish ports have mainly concentrated on container imports to Russia, and Estonian ports carry a major share of oil exports from Russia.

No study on how the very large maritime volumes could be handled when the operational environment changes radically is available. Such changes would occur, for example, if a port or several ports or sea routes are closed down due to an economic crisis or an environmental hazard.


The goal of the research project is to analyse, both environmentally and economically, and summarise the present and future business environment of cargo flows in the Gulf of Finland. The analysis provides the alternative development paths of the operational environment of the cargo flows from business and official perspectives within the framework of stable and emergency situations.


The main technical parts of the project are as follows:

Production of basic data of current cargo flows, infrastructure and actors in the Gulf of Finland and importance of the cargo flows for business and society. In addition, future changes and cargo flow development are estimated. Based on these analyses, alternative routes for traffic flows in case of an emergency are studied.

Examination of alternative scenarios of operational environment in the extreme situations. Firstly, the analysis comprises of the possible emergency situations that could affect the Gulf of Finland cargo flows and the consequences of possible emergency situations for the actors in business and public sector. Secondly, the environmental effects of road and rail transport on the alternative transport routes will be studied. In addition, the opportunities and threats for the operations of sea ports in the area of Baltic Sea Region and inland logistics centres in South-East Finland will be examined.

Determining the threats posed by crises for energy traffic flows in the Baltic Sea region and especially in the Gulf of Finland. The analysis will discuss oil and chemical flows and alternative routes, environmental, social, economic and political risks associated with oil transportation in emergency situations.

Analysis of different types of emergency situations occurring at arbitrary periods of time (within the defined investigation period) through computer-based simulation models. Mostly system dynamics simulation is used for this purpose, but the utilisation of more advanced methods are also emphasised during the implementation of the project, for example, agent based simulation. These initial and small-scale agent models enable the use of advanced artificial intelligence in the project, among complex command structures in the models; until today it has not been possible to conduct these with other approaches.


Other Programme
The Regional Council of Southwest Finland, the Estonian Maritime Academy and the National Emergency Supply Agency
Funding Source
European Regional Development Fund, The Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme 2007-2013


National Emergency Supply Agency’s mission is to monitor and assess the state of security of supply, maintain a dialogue on important themes and to submit proposals and initiatives regarding areas of development within security of supply (National Emergency Supply Agency 2008). This study contributes to analysing the “holistic view” of security of supply in Finland and in Estonia. The research groups consist of top level researchers having a long experience working together. Furthermore, the project has designated Kotka Maritime Research Centre to be responsible of communication with media, aiming to ignite dialogue of important themes found in this project.

In order to produce results in international research networks personal, national and international cooperation is a necessity. A functioning research group will have significantly better possibilities to merge different views, interests and ways of action. Several discussion forums between researchers and specialists have been arranged to achieve a broad view of e.g. risks and threats related to the supply chain management, critical infrastructure in seaports and for functioning logistics, land and sea based transportation routes, environmental effects of new land based routes, transportation of basic goods to safeguard population’s living, energy supply and security, and the development of ports in the Gulf of Finland. Several external specialists have assisted in the study to produce a holistic view of possible actions in emergency situations. National and international collaboration provide necessary data, ways of action and best practices to construct applicable examples not only in the Gulf of Finland but also in the Baltic Sea Region.

From the very beginning of the study, national and international target groups have been encouraged to visit our www-site for information. The project’s results are in the form of brochures, reports, publications, newspaper articles, TV-news, proceedings etc. Several seminars open to the public and especially specialists in the field have been held to join and start active discussions on how to be better prepared for emergency situations.

Innovation aspects

Production of basic data of current cargo flows, infrastructure and actors in the Gulf of Finland and importance of the cargo flows for business and society. 

Policy implications

Increasing the safety of freight transport.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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