Better use of the Barents region through transport connections between Finland and Russia

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 14.4.2008 16.15
News item

A working group of the Ministry of Transport and Communications presents the following: Transport between Russia and Finland may increase, if more use will be made of the natural resources in the Barents region. This means that there might be a need for a railway between Salla and Alakurtti with a connection to the Murmansk rail. Finland and Russia are prepared to examine the costs, benefits, and financing opportunities for the railway. However, the implementation of the project depends on Russia's readiness to invest in it.

Finland will focus on improving operations on the current border-crossing points in northern Finland, to which Russia is also committed. Border-crossing can be made more efficient by longer service hours and shorter document processing times. Particularly the introduction of electronic customs clearance should be accelerated.

In Finland's view it would be important to open the rail section Lietmajärvi-Kotshkoma leading to the border-crossing point of Vartius to international transport.

The agreement between Finland and Russia on rail transport connecting the countries should be reformed in order to liberalise international freight transport and to enable container transport on all border-crossing points.

The cost-effectiveness of air routes between northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and north-western Russia should be reassessed and the opportunities for opening direct air routes between Rovaniemi and Murmansk and between Oulu and Arkangel examined.

There are currently eight international and 16 temporary border-crossing points for road transport between Finland and Russia, and four for rail transport. A total of 35 million tonnes of freight worth around 35 billion euros are transported across the border each year.

There could be demand for coach services between Joensuu in Finland and Petroskoi in Russia. A rail bus connection could be in operation in summer.

Further information:
Mr Mikko Ojajärvi, Director of Transport System Unit, tel. +358 9 160 28574
Ms Silja Ruokola, Director of Unit for Logistics and Russia Corporation, tel. +358 9 160 28367