The vital, year-round maritime transport connection between Finland and Sweden, Midway Alignment of the Bothnian Corridor, has taken a huge step forward with the completion of the preliminary design of the new ferry planned for the route (will be published 16.4.2015). The first phase of the project aiming at the comprehensive development of cargo and passenger transport between Vaasa and Umeå will be finished on schedule.
– Now that the preliminary design for the environmentally friendly and innovative new ship is ready, we can focus more closely on the planning of the ship’s functions and the required adjustments in the ports as well as calculate their cost estimates, says Mr. Mathias Lindström, Director of the Kvarken Council and Project Manager of Midway Alignment.
Although the new ferry is the most visible part of Midway Alignment, the project also encompasses many other activities. It has, among other things, improved the route’s port and logistics functions as well as analyzed the requirements related to the route stretching between Ostrobothnia in Finland and Westbothnia in Sweden.
A Lifeline between Vibrant Regions
The maritime connection between Vaasa and Umeå is an important east-west corridor in the EU, and it has connected the two border regions, Westbothnia and Ostrobothnia, for centuries as well as promoted the interaction between the two countries. The sea route connects to three strategically important highways – the E12, the E4 and the E8 – and also facilitates Finland’s and Sweden’s trade with Norway, the Baltic countries, Eastern Europe and Russia.
– The improvement of the transport route between Vaasa and Umeå carries great regional significance, and its effects will radiate even further to Finland, Sweden and Norway. Some of its effects are already visible in the form of increased tourist volumes on the route, rejoices Mr. Jonas Jonsson, the Mayor of Umeå City.
The regions of Vaasa and Umeå are both vibrant and rapidly growing. The internationally operating businesses in the regions need cost-efficient and secure logistics solutions regarding import and export.
– By maintaining and strengthening the infrastructure between these areas we help transform the regions of Vaasa and Umeå into one strong and unified region that will be able to compete with many other European regions, envisions Mr. Tomas Häyry, the Mayor of Vaasa City.
A New Kind of Cooperation
Jonsson, Häyry and Lindström wish to emphasize the good cooperation between the public and private sectors within the Midway Alignment project, where all the participants share the same interests. During these challenging economic times, it is especially important that the public and private sectors are developed in the same direction.
Ms. Ulrika Roupé, the representative from the maritime transport development and consulting company SSPA Sweden, is impressed by the multi-level cooperation within the project.
– The commitment and cooperation from the municipalities, the regional administration and the economic life towards one shared goal contributes to the realization of the project’s objectives. Moreover, the project’s breadth makes it very special, Ms. Roupé states.
Photo: Esa Siltaloppi
Text: Johanna Haveri