Comprehensive Academic Studies on Finnish – Russian IWW

INFUTURE Steering Group and Working Group meetings were held in St. Peterburg at the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping October 15-16th.

The Chairman of the Steering Group, Pekka Koskinen, as opening the meeting noted that the project has been on-going for a year now and it is time to have a look on the results so far.

All 4 work packages presented the outcomes so far including very comprehensive academic studies and practical analyses.

1) Transshipment Hub Development – Cargo potential from both sides, Finnish and Russian, has been studied and evaluated

2) Inland Waterways Fairway Technologies – the water areas have been studied and analyzed. The aim is to conduct a pilot on the Neva river.

3) Inland Waterway Vessel Concept – based on the information from the WP1 a new vessel type concept for multipurpose vessel has been studied. The aim is the have a design of this vessel by the end of the project.

4) Dissemination and Stakeholder Engagement – A lot of work has been done within the WP1-3 and now we have good material for dissemination and having round tables, like within the NEVA Trans.

The next steps on each work packages were also agreed during these two meetings.

The project members visited the Museum of the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping, which tells about the history of academic maritime education.

Text: Heli Koukkula-Teixeira

Final evaluation of the DigiPort project, part 4.

The realization and social impact of the DigiPort project can be assessed through four themes, the fourth of which is presented here.

Theme 4: Port Data Innovations Based on Open Data

To accelerate digital innovations, the project organized a hackathon event in April 2019 in Mussalo harbor in Kotka. The aim of the event was to bring in open data-driven innovations for the identified challenges of ports by multidisciplinary student teams. The challenges to be solved were shaped by workshops in Kotka and Turku. The event was successfully marketed and 20 students from different educational programs were invited to attend. They represented education in maritime and logistics, service design, data analytics, game design, information technology, and cyber security. In solving the challenges, students were instructed to use various open data sources and data processing tools to create new service concepts. The hackathon event culminated in a pitching competition that rewarded the three best innovations. The judges of the competition were representatives of companies, who also acted as mentors for students. All participating teams were given the opportunity to participate in the *Ship Startup Festival in July 2019 to further develop their idea. The social impact of the theme is the creation of new port innovations for further development.

Final evaluation of the DigiPort project, part 3.

The realization and social impact of the DigiPort project can be assessed through four themes, the third of which is presented here.

Theme 3: Opening and publishing data

The project developed a policy for port authorities to open and publish data on port infrastructure. Initially, the information needs of the port users were identified. An attempt was then made to find a working method of cooperation to support the opening of data from pilot ports (HaminaKotka and Turku). The management of the port companies was given guidance and recommendations on how to proceed with the mapping exercise. The intention was to progressively open up the data sets with the greatest potential for exploitation. In addition, material already in the public domain at the ports was mapped. Technical information on port infrastructure, i.e. roads, railways, waterways, structures, areas, networks, etc., is already publicly available on the internet. Only publishing as open data gives the port authority control over the accuracy of the information. The description or metadata of the data can influence the correct use of the data.

An Excel-based tool for port data inventory listing was developed. It was triggered by operational problems detected in ports, where data reserves could serve as a raw material for developing solutions. The problems were formulated on the basis of the results of workshops held in Kotka and Turku. The pilot ports made the listings, which served as a basis for reflection on the material to be opened. During the mapping of the data it was noticed that the infrastructure information of the port is scattered and organized in different information systems in the organizations. Information can be found in both paper and digital formats in personal folders and workstations.

Open source requires a publishing platform to make the data and its metadata available to application developers and other users. The materials were stored in a data catalogue located on the database server created for the project, where they can be utilized. The server, software and related peripherals were installed as a thesis at Xamk. The actual deployment was made by Xamk’s ICT management. A domain name,, was opened for the service. This created the world’s first data catalogue focusing on port information. At the end of the project, the data catalogue contains infrastructure data opened by the ports of HaminaKotka and Turku, as well as links to the materials of the Finnish Transport Agency and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The social impact of the theme is the emergence of a new operating model and the opening up of port infrastructure information for application and software developers. This will enable the development of new digital services for ports that can improve the flow, performance, security and environmental friendliness of ports.

INFUTURE Seminar: Inland Waterways and Cargo Potential

In conjunction with the 15th TRANS Neva Maritime and Shipping Industry Exhibition in St.Peterburg a Seminar on Inland Waterways and Cargo Potential was held September 18th, 2019.

The Seminar was organised in the frames of the “Future Potential of Inland Waterways – INFUTURE project”, which is a CBC Programme 2014-2020 project, funded by the European Union, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland.

The programme of the seminar consisted of three sessions: 1) Cargo potential of inland waterways of Republic of Finland at Saimaa and Russian Federation at Volgo-Balt basin; 2) Safe fairways – up-to day technologies for fairway and waterways infrastructure; 3) New IWW vessels for efficient “river-sea” navigation via Saimaa and Volgo-Balt and in shortsea.

The seminar was opened by the Rector of the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping Sergey Olegovich Baryshnikov. He underlined the importance of education of the next generation in maritime and inland shipping.

The Vice-Rector for Science and Research Tatyana Alekseevna Pantina presented the Russian Inland Waterway Strategy 2030. The aim of the improvements of inland navigation in Russian is to increase the cargo volumes, to shift some of the cargo volumes from congested roads and railroads to waterways, which is an environmentally friendly transport mode. Modernization of IWW system is necessary, and in 2018 the President of the Russian Federation Mr Vladimir Putin signed a Statute on 12 national development projects of IWW system.

Tarja Javanainen, Kotka Maritime Research Center, INFUTURE Project Manager, introdouced the project to the international audience, the specialists and stakeholders of IWW system. The project started November 1st, 2018 and ends October 31st, 2021. The project partners are Kotka Maritime Research Association (Lead Partner) FI, Aalto University FI, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences FI, SeaHow FI, Finnish Waterways FI, Admiral Makarov State University for Maritime and Inland Shipping RU and North-West Russia Logistics and Information Development Centre RU.

Feodor Valerevich Shishlakov, Head of the Administration of Volgo-Balt Basin of Inland Waterways (Volgo-Baltic Administration), presented the Volgo-Balt Basin of Inland Waterways. They are controlling the Volgo-Balt Basin, and one of the main tasks is to take care of the safe and smooth navigation. The Volga-Balt Waterway is an important part of the unified system of deep inland waterways of the European part of Russia. This is a complex of engineering facilities, which includes 4,896 km of inland waterways operated, including 2,969 km with guaranteed dimensions, 11 locks with a pressure of 11 to 18 meters, three water power plants, 25 earth dikes and dams, 12 ferry crossings, 9 bridges, 8 lighthouses on the Ladoga lake, over 4,495 aids to navigation, 243 vessels of service fleet.

Pekka Koskinen, the Finnish Waterways and Anatoly Burkov, the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping presented the current situation of inland waterway systems in Finland and Russia. The modernization of the IWW systems have already been started in both countries. The industry has shown interest in transporting the cargo using waterways. One aim of the INFUTURE project is to examine the cargo potential between Finland and Russia (WP1).

Kari Pohjola, SeaHow and Vladimir Karetnikov, the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping discussed about the fairway techonolgies. One aim of this work package is to study the possibilities to prolong the navigation period and execute a pilot using smart buoys, and also create a smart buoy concept for IWW (WP2).

Professor Pentti Kujala, Aalto University and Professor Marina Lebedeva, the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping introduced ideas on new type of cargo vessel for inland waterways. There are several technical issues which need to be carefully studied for inland waterways have their specific features. The idea is to develop a multipurpose vessel type, to work out a concept and also a ship design (WP3).

It was agreed that the work of development of the IWW system is truly important and the time is right for it. The NEVA Trans will take place next time in 2021. The aim is to have an INFUTURE seminar in the frames of it and present the results of the project.

Text: Heli Koukkula-Teixeira

Inverview of Pekka Koskinen could be seen via webpages of Finnish Waterway Association.

News about the seminar in Russian.

Merikotka and BONUS BALTIMARI hosted a panel discussion on improving uptake from research to practice

Baltic Seas conference panelists

On September 24-25, 2019, University of Turku hosted The Baltic Seas International Maritime Conference with a theme “European Maritime Research from Adriatic to Baltic”. On the second day of the conference, Kotka Maritime Research Centre and BONUS BALTIMARI project jointly hosted a session which included a panel discussion on strategies for improving uptake from research to practice. Here is a brief summary of the panel.

The panelists

  • Floris Goerlandt, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management for Marine Industries
  • Maria Hänninen, Research Director at Kotka Maritime Research Centre (Merikotka)
  • Jens-Uwe Schröder-Hinrichs, Vice-President (Academic Affairs) and Professor, World Maritime University
  • Valtteri Laine, Special advisor, Traficom


  • Ketki Kulkarni, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aalto University
  • Anish Hebbar, Assistant Professor at World Maritime University

Highlights of the discussion

Dr. Floris began the session by speaking about different types of research affecting practice: basic science, use-inspired fundamental research and applied research. He emphasized the need for researchers to be flexible and accessible to policy-makers. He spoke about the importance of building relationships and ground rules with policy-makers.

Next, Dr. Maria shared her experiences of bridging the gap from research to practice. She mentioned how policy makers often require solutions in shorter times and research typically takes longer. However, she noted from experience that researchers are interested in practical problems and decision makers are interested about new research.

Dr. Jens highlighted the need for evidence-based research. He mentioned how scientific research often provided complex answers, while decision makers required easy-to-understand answers, which a wider range of people can comprehend.

Valtteri mentioned that the best way for policy-makers to be informed about scientific advances is through interactions like round-tables and closed group meetings. Often, policy-makers do not have access to scientific databases and that inhibits their search for current scientific works.

Dr. Maria was asked about how researchers could meet the timelines for policy-makers, given their different approaches and planning horizons. She mentioned that it would help to understand the sociology of risks and learning how decision-making works. This way, researchers to could aim for predicting the questions of the policy-makers in the future and plan research accordingly. Dr. Jens added that to convince to stakeholders about the validity of research, once again throws the spotlight on the need for evidence based research.

Dr. Floris was asked about how much importance do academics place on Technology Readiness Level (TRL). He stated that pursuing TRL was quite difficult in academia, since it would require sustained monetary and development efforts over a long period on a single project. A commentor from the audience pointed out that projects with higher TRL levels from academia, although appreciated by policy-makers, do not necessarily help young academics advance in their career. This is because they do not produce citations, which are required by researchers. Dr. Floris highlighted the efforts of BONUS, H2020 and other agencies in pushing for higher TRL in their projects and thought them to be better advocates for TRL, rather than universities.

Dr. Jens discussed how the metrics for academic performances are also now evolving, with more universities looking at TV, social media coverage and impacts of dissemination across all technological platforms (for example, twitter reaction analysis). It is becoming important to show how engaged you are as a university.

Valtteri was asked how can academics help to extend the reach of their work to policy-makers? He discussed the role of persons like himself, who are special advisors relating to policy and who are actively engaged in academia (as external PhD candidates or collaborators).


  1. There is an increasing need for evidence-based research, which can help build trust in stakeholders.
  2. Researchers can better predict the problems of the future (for policy-makers) by learning how decision-making works.
  3. Agencies such as BONUS and H2020 are on the right path of improving TRL of research projects. Dissemination of this work is important
  4. Researchers/academics may be more motivated to work on practical problems and higher TRLs, if their work can somehow contribute to their growth in academia. There should be more metrics apart from citations to help with this.
  5. Policy-makers need better access to scientific work. Open access should be promoted and researchers should establish regular communication channels with policy-makers.
  6. Organizations such as Merikotka and special advisors such as Valtteri and Jouni have an important role to play in bridging the gap from science to policy, as they are approachable to both, policy-makers and researchers.


The BONUS BALTIMARI project has received funding from BONUS (Art. 185), funded jointly by the EU and the Swedish Research Council Formas, the Polish National Center for Research and Development, and the Estonian Research Council.