Future potential of Inland Waterways

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Most international freight traffic happens on roads, such as the busy route between Finland and St. Petersburg. Road transport presents its own set of challenges, including pollution, accidents and road network congestion. Inland waterway traffic, however, could constitute a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option that also attracts the interest of transport companies.

Developing inland waterway traffic

The “Future potential of Inland Waterways” (INFUTURE) project takes a wide-ranging approach to finding solutions for sustainable and cost-effective inland waterway traffic.

We examine the legislation on freight traffic as well as Finnish and Russian customs policies, and identify the most efficient ways of handling cargo. In addition, we are creating an IT system that helps customers quickly find the most suitable service for their cargo transport needs.


The South-East Finland – Russia CBC 2014–2020 programme is the main contributor.
The total budget for the project is EUR 1,251,538.

Project partners

Kotka Maritime Research Association KMRA (Lead Partner)
Aalto University AALTO
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences XAMK
Finnish Waterway Association FWA
Admiral Makarov State University for Maritime and Inland Shipping MAKAROV
North-West Russia Logistics and Information Development Centre ILOT


INFUTURE seminar in NEVA2019

INFUTURE take part in 15th International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Shipbuilding, Shipping, Port Activities, Ocean and Shelf  Development “NEVA2019” 17-18 September 2019 in St Petersburg. Seminar main topics are: Cargo potential of inland waterways of Republic of Finland at Saimaa and Russian Federation at Volgo-Balt basin, Safe fairways – up-to day technologies for fairway and waterways infrastructure and New IWW vessels for efficient “river-sea” navigation via Saimaa and Volgo-Balt and in shortsea.


INFUTURE visit Volgo-Balt Administration in St Petersburg


INFUTURE held its 2nd working group meeting at Admiral Makarov State University for Maritime and Inland Shipping in St Petersburg on April 10, 2019. The main issues were to have a discussion related to project ongoing works and to continuation of those works in the near future. The working group meeting was attended by representatives of all Finnish and Russian partners and experts on inland waterway traffic. The project started perfectly. The first report named “Prosperous Future of Inland Waterways” had been published and can be found on Merikotka website at

On the second day, the INFUTURE group had an opportunity to visit the Volgo-Balt Administration in St Petersburg. The Deputy Head of Volgo-Balt Administration Mr. Gennady Iosifovich Aizen personally welcomed the delegation of Finnish representatives and the Russian participants of the INFUTURE project. He spoke about the role and importance of Volgo-Balt Administration, and cited the main data characterizing its activities in the region.

The next speaker, the leading specialist of the Basin Communications Centre Mr. Alexandr Anatolyevich Zhegalin, spoke about providing communications to navigators, the development of differential correction services and the prospects for implementation of river information services. The Deputy Head of the Cartographic Service Mr. Gleb Borisovich Chistyakov reported on the main tasks facing the cartographic service, on the modern technologies for creating paper and electronic navigation charts, on the operational aspects of providing cartographic products and proofreading data to ship-owners and captains, as well as on the introduction of digital technologies on the Volga-Baltic waterway.

The Finnish part of the project was presented by Ms. Tarja Javanainen (Merikotka) and Mr. Pekka Koskinen (Finnish Waterway Association). Their presentations were devoted both to the introduction of the project “The Future Potential of Inland Waterways” itself, as well as to the condition and development of ports and inland waterways in Finland and Sweden, and their role in the Baltic Sea region.

The project participants visited the Basin Communications Centre and the Ship Traffic Control Service, where the capabilities of the Volgo-Balt Administration in the operational monitoring of the entrusted waterways and fleet traffic control were demonstrated to them. The parties expressed a unanimous opinion about the need to attract young professionals and scientists to the work and activities under the project. The completion of the second day of work marked the successful completion of the second working meeting on the INFUTURE project.

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.

Study on commercial visibility and future cargo flows on the route Saimaa Lakes-Volgo Balt

Pantina, T. & Volkova, T. 2019, Admiral Makarov SUMIS

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Prosperous Future of Inland Waterways

Lybeck, T. 2019. South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences

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Tarja Javanainen

Implementation time

1.11.2018 - 31.10.2021