New Research Project for Development of Inland Navigation

The INFUTURE (Future potential for inland waterways) project kicks off in October for a duration of three years. Aiming at developing improvements to inland waterway transport, the project is funded by the South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014-2020 programme beginning next month.

“We will be analysing legislation relevant to cargo transport as well as customs practices in Russia and Finland. This will be accompanied by an IT system designed to help customers home in on the most suitable service for their cargo”, says Ville Henttu, Director of Research at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
The research team behind INFUTURE will be examining a wide range of solutions for the development of sustainable and cost-effective inland waterway transport. Project partners include South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Aalto University, the Finnish Waterway Association, Meritaito Seahow Oy, Admiral Makarov State University for Maritime and Inland Shipping and the North-West Russia Logistic and Information Development Center. Tarja Javainen will be responsible for project coordination at the Kotka Maritime Research Centre.

Children Inspired to Draw by Introduced Species

The Baltic Sea Village challenged Kotka’s schoolchildren to get creative with introduced species, i.e. plants or animals living outside their native habitat as a result of human activity. Introduced species pose a grave threat to biodiversity. The young artists’ drawings depicted species both real and imagined, with family tickets to the Maretarium aquarium raffled among the participants. One of the winners was 5-year-old Joanna, whose interpretation of an introduced species can be seen below.

The Baltic Sea Village is organized annually in the context of the Kotkan Meripäivät festival. Organizers included the Environmental Centre of the City of Kotka, Haili Nature School, Kymen Vesi Oy, Metsähallitus, Natural Resources Institute Finland, The South-Eastern Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, and the Southern Finland Fishermen’s Association.

Open data in ports – requirement or opportunity?

Writing in “A Hundred New Opportunities for Finland in 2018–2037”, a publication by the Finnish Parliament’s Committee for the Future, futurologists Risto Linturi and Osmo Kuusi argue that transport is the fastest-developing of all sectors. Digitalisation is becoming a reality for the logistics sector, but are ports ready?

This is a fear also expressed by the Finnish Government, which issued a decision in then spring stating that transport hubs such as ports and airports will be required to generate more open data in the future. Open data is essential to digitalisation efforts, which the transport sector will also need to undertake.

Read the blog post in its entirety on the Centrum Balticum site.

30MILES introduces new tool for port design

The 30MILES project, whose aim is to develop coastal tourism, is introducing a new tool for the design of marinas on 23 May. The tool, developed by environmental scientists at the University of Helsinki, offers help with investment planning.
– This new model helps port designers identify the factors that most effectively increase customer satisfaction, says researcher Annukka Lehikoinen, who is one of the application’s developers.

Her working group will present the application at the 30MILES final seminar, where participants will have the opportunity to test different versions of then tool and influence the final phase of its development. The two-day final seminar’s second day will focus on the project’s other achievements.
For more information, contact Tarja Javanainen at
30 MILES is an EU-funded project whose aim is to develop water tourism. The three-year project aims to create a safe marina network with attractive services in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland.

Digitalisation and data as solutions to ports’ problems?

The DigiPort project organised two seminar and workshop events in Kotka and Turku. The former was held on 13 March in office centre Merituuli’s Logistics Workshop, in the Mussalo port. In Turku we gathered on 15 March at the Auriga Business Centre, located on the Aboa Mare premises.

– The events exceeded expectations, with the venues for both fully booked. We had participants from all relevant organisations as well as representatives from public bodies, as we had hoped, said Project Manager Janne Saarikoski from the Kotka Maritime Research Centre.

The programme included presentation on the opportunities afforded to ports by open data by the Information Society Development Centre’s Jari Salo, followed by a workshop whose aim was to identify functional problems faced by the port community and look for solutions based on digitalisation and open data.

The results will now be analysed and utilised as a basis for examining the current state of ports. Identified problems will also be tackled by multidisciplinary student teams at the Hack the Port hackathon event in late winter 2019. Pictures of the event can be found on the Turku University Centre for Maritime Studies website.

Responsible Maritime Transport

Maritime transport is regulated to a large extent by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The current legislative environment is inflexible and out of sync with the complexities and fast pace of the sector.
“Social responsibility can bring flexibility to managing the maritime sector, and give private actors incentives to improve security and environmental practices”, explains Helsinki University researcher Tuuli Parviainen.
In a research project entitled “How can stakeholders promote environmental and social responsibility in the shipping industry”, Parviainen and her colleagues Annukka Lehikoinen, Sakari Kuikka and Päivi Haapasaari are looking for ways to make the sector more responsible.

This requires wide-ranging cooperation among researchers, consumers and organisations.

The research presents new ways to make the sector more responsible. While the maritime sector has traditionally been seen as business-to-business, external actors such as the media, citizens’ organisations consumers and researchers can also demand greater responsibility.

Given that individual actors often wield only meagre influence over shipping companies, the researchers highlight the role of stakeholder alliances in effecting change in the sector. Cooperation among commercial and non-commercial actors is seen as particularly effective in this regard. Citizens’ organisations, consumers and shipping company employees can team up with influential financial backers, insurance companies and public authorities to influence the development of responsible practices and help ensure that these are followed.

Such cooperation can also draw attention to the development of new technologies and highlight central societal questions such as openness, working conditions, equality, and social justice. At best, pressure from a range of actors can even influence legislation and legal reforms.

Improved classification with the help of responsibility certifications

Given that maritime transport is business, responsible ways of operating have to be designed so as to make them commercially interesting. Alongside legislation and the work undertaken by public authorities, new ways to classify actors and procedures must be developed. It is also crucial that awareness of responsibility certifications created to this end extends beyond the maritime sector, as ensuring effective corporate responsibility among shipping companies requires a wide-ranging public discussion, stakeholder participation and political support.

Tuuli Parviainen, Annukka Lehikoinen, Sakari Kuikka and Päivi Haapasaari’s research has been published in the international WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs series of publications.

Wihuri Foundation Grants Funding for KMRC Professorship

The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation has accorded a grant to support the maritime logistics systems professorship at the Kotka Maritime Research Centre. The professorship is placed at the Turku University Brahea Centre for training and research in the maritime sector.
The only one of its kind in Finland, the professorship focusses on management systems in the maritime sector, the analysis of maritime traffic and cargo flows in the Gulf of Finland as well as port-bound operations and data flows.
The professorship has been active since 2006, and it forms an integral part of the KMRC’s multidisciplinary research.

The 120,000-euro grant secures the continuation of the professorship until the end of 2021.

The KMRC’s Executive Director Anna Kiiski and Turku University Professor Tommi Inkinen celebrated the funding decision, calling it “an important contribution to strengthening scientific research into maritime transport in Finland”

Final seminar on 25 August 2015 in the context of the IMISS 2015 seminar, part of the Maritime Safety Week

The project’s final seminar will be held in Kotka at Maritime Centre Vellamo on 25 August, in the context of the international IMISS 2015 seminar. The seminar coincides with the Maritime Safety Week that will see a wide range of events organised in Kotka and Helsinki. Project results will be discussed by Project Director Olli-Pekka Brunila from Turku University’s Brahea Centre for maritime training and research in a presentation entitled ”Ports’ environmental management in the Baltic Sea”.