The EUSBSR Action Plan names TransBaltic among the initiatives which brought valuable results for the development of green corridors network. The Macroregional Transport Action Plan (MTAP), adopted by the TransBaltic partner regions, contains policy actions that aim to improve connectivity and accessibility of the Baltic Sea Reason (BSR). They are built on e.g. key business actions carried out together by public and private actors. Some of them were found notably encouraging for follow-up activities.
The MTAP is designed as an innovative decision-support instrument for macroregional transport planning and development. This approach and ambition need be verified and evaluated. For that purpose actions will be taken in such thematic areas that saw high stakeholder commitment.
TransBaltic Extension aims to carry out a pilot implementation of the MTAP through a strategic preparedness measure and the deployment of transport greening policy actions in the public-private environment. The project has 5 formal partners from 4 BSR countries (former task leaders and new partners interested in replicating the policy action steps in their locations). This setup is complemented with a wide group of public/private actors (associated organisations), to ensure that the outcomes are feasible and credible, and that the proposed activities have a practical/business-oriented dimension.
In WP3 the project applies the short sea container business model as a strategic preparedness measure of the MTAP (stemming from Policy Action 1) to mitigate negative consequences of the IMO Sulphur Directive on the freight transport patterns in the BSR. The Directive is regarded one of the factors affecting the green scenario path towards sustainable multimodal transport system in the BSR.
In WP4 the project deploys selected policy actions (No. 2, 6, 7, 10) of transport greening character as a test case how to apply the TEN-T guidelines in the BSR. Apart from several business plans and other documentation rendered available for large-scale use, the project intends to verify and strengthen policy and business interfaces in the MTAP implementation. The involvement and cooperation quality between public/private stakeholders will help evaluate to what extent it may serve as a veritable policy support instrument for a sustainable multimodal transport system in the BSR within the framework of the EU Baltic Sea Strategy.
The project aspires to deliver experience in implementing activities in the public-private environment as an input to the transport priority in the next BSR Programme (by offering enriched business dimension and transport greening features).
In the first implementation period the project partnership concentrated on
- setting relations between the formal and associated partners in implementing detailed project activities in the different thematic parts; and
- anchoring the project ambitions and objectives among actors dealing with transport and logistics in the Baltic Sea Region.
The project arranged a kick-off seminar with ca 30 representatives of the transport and logistics business from the Hamburg area to obtain feedback to the following questions:
- Is the observation by TransBaltic reasonable that the modal backshift induced by the IMO Sulphur Directive will challenge the future of short-sea services in the Baltic Sea?
- What is the accumulated experience with the use of the short sea containers in the feeder service and in the hinterland traffic throughout Europe? If so, to what extent is that specific experience translated into policymaking?
- What kind of aspects need to be taken into account to design a successful and durable business model based on short sea containers?
The discussion (summed up in the press release) revolved around a potential of short sea containers to become a broadly applied solution alleviating a modal backshift of cargo moved from sea to road and complementing the technological innovations aimed to meet the low-sulphur fuel limits. The identified challenges for the short sea shipping, including intensive competition as well as lack of inland depots and standardisation, add to the list of pre-requisites the project will take into account when investigating a wider utilisation of short sea containers in the supply chains crossing the Baltic Sea (WP3) and connecting hinterland areas of the Hamburg and Helsinki ports (Task 4.1).
The project ambitions and goals have been laid down in a project flyer distributed to the seminar participants. Following the kick-off seminar, two WP3 studies were launched:
- Applied short sea container models in the BSR;
- Existing and potential future freight volumes handled by short sea shipping operators in the BSR.
In WP4 an internal discussion on the transferability of Hamburg solutions to the Lahti region was done, based on an analysis of experience with dry ports and hinterland operations. In different WP4 tasks key business stakeholders were approached and the joint work activated.