Proposal: International centre of excellence on the shore of the Bay of Bothnia

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 11.12.2014 10.15
Press release

Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and Ministry of the Environment are proposing the launch of an international testing, exercise, and training centre for Arctic shipping. The centre is to be implemented by the cities of Kemi, Oulu, and Pori along with their development companies. The role of the ministries would be to help the cities network with the players and partners of their own fields.

The proposal of the ministries is connected with Finland's Arctic strategy on which the Government issued a resolution in August 2013. One of the measures proposed in the strategy was to promote the establishment of an international centre of excellence in fighting chemical and oil spills.

The centre will offer standardisation, exercises, training and testing using the ice-covered sea, and later possibly ice tanks, for safe winter navigation, rescue operations, and oil spill prevention and response. Equipment testing in cold climate and large-scale research can be carried out both in natural conditions and in a laboratory.

The planning stage for the centre of excellence will take 1-2 years and in that time a business plan will be drafted for the centre. During the planning stages, possibilities for collaboration with Sweden, Norway, and Russia will also be examined.

If the centre of excellence shows financial profitability, the actual investment phase will begin in 2016-2017. The centre is to open by the end of the current decade.

Further information:
Mr Pekka Plathan, Director-General, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 295 342 340
Mr Lauri Ala-Opas, Director, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel. +358 295 047 156
Mr Magnus Nyström, Senior Specialist, Ministry of the Environment, tel. + 358 295 250 212