New Perspectives and Information from the NABL Project Webinar

A transport webinar arranged by the NABL on February 15th 2022 project presented some fresh railroad studies and looked into the future of the railway network development in the Barents Region. Dialogue on all levels was seen as the key to draw a bigger picture and to think globally but act in a way that benefits regionally.

An interactive webinar on the development of railways and infrastructure in the Barents Region was held last week by the Regional Council of Kainuu and the Local Federation of East Lapland. The first session of the online event presented five recently completed studies related to railway’s development and cross-border mobility.

  • Norwegian partners introduced effects of the increased availability on Ofotbanen-Malmbanan railway.
  • Russian partners delivered a study on the impact of Russian railways projects on the Barents Region transport system.
  • From the Finnish partners there were short overviews on preliminary study of the Kontiomäki-Kemijärvi railway with a few alternative lines, improvement needs for the Oulu- Kontiomäki railway and impacts of diversifying of passenger and freight transport on the Vartius/Lytta border crossing.

All studies were implemented in the frames of the Northern Axis – Barents Link project, which aims to identify the main bottlenecks of the east-west transport corridor in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region and contribute to its further development. The project has partners from four different countries – Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Russia. The project, that is soon coming to an end, has been funded from the Kolartic CBC Programme.

According to a new study published in February 2022 by the Lapland Chamber of Commerce, the investment potential of the Barents Region is around EUR 178 billion. We cannot underestimate role of connectivity for various business sectors, their supply chains and productions’ delivery to global markets. Moreover, transport and logistics play important role in everyday life of each resident of the Barents Region, being vital for the remote area’s accessibility, and for the smooth movements of goods and people.

In the second session of the seminar, Jari Vilén, Finland’s Ambassador of the Barents and Northern Dimension at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Mika Riipi and Pentti Malinen, top persons of the Lapland and Kainuu Regions and Nikita Kamenir from the Russian Federal Railway Transport Agency discussed the development of the future railway network in the Barents Region.

Listen to the inspiring speeches of the guests following the links below. The webinar recording is available on YouTube in two languages; in English and in Russian.

You Tube Video in English 

YouTube Video in Russian

The missing link can be built, railroads electrified, and administrative barriers could be removed on the top of strong collaboration and clear common vision. The main message from the event is that we need a dialogue on all levels and cooperation is our common way forward. Looking from many perspectives at the same question opens opportunity to see the bigger picture.
At any level of cooperation: local, regional, national or cross-border, we should always define links to holistic picture to understand complexity and dynamics of the environment, to take in account different stakeholders and their needs. Hot Arctic questions are reflected in the Barents cooperation, but on the other hand, a particular project at a regional level can influence wider Arctic questions. Think globally – act locally!

Webinar materials

Below you’ll find the five presentations given during the first part of the  webinar.

1 Riku Ilomäki Ramboll ENG (pdf)

2 Kaisa-Liisa Tikka Proxion ENG (pdf)

3 Juha Hyvärinen Traficon ENG (pdf)

4 Victoria Kalinina InfraTerra ENG (pdf)

5 Jørn Eldby UiT ENG (pdf)