Thursday, August 26, 2021

On Baltic Sea Day a Reminder of the Importance of a Link Between Neighbours

Local Ports Celebrate as Covid Highlights the Value of the Waterway
Shipping News Feature

BALTIC – Today, August 26, is Baltic Sea Day, giving Scandinavian neighbours a chance to celebrate a waterway that has proved crucial at many times, and was particularly missed during the height of the Covid pandemic.

Baltic Sea Day is celebrated on the last Thursday of August every year and is the brain child of the John Nurminen Foundation, an organisation dedicated to protecting the Sea and its cultural heritage for future generations. The day sees numerous events to celebrate the occasion and has a dedicated webpage showing all that is going on.

Sweden and Finland in particular have a shared history of important trade exchange and there has always been a significant amount of travel between the countries. During the pandemic this maritime bridge was to all extents closed and threatened. Vessel services have slowly and safely restarted this summer and the appreciation of the value of good neighbours has grown while isolated. Mayor of Stockholm Anna König Jerlmyr comments:

“Sweden and Finland have always been bound together by the Baltic Sea. During the pandemic we have missed the Finnish visitors and the opportunity to travel between our countries, and we have worked very hard to keep the important transport flow moving. With the restart of services, a new environmental and climate action plan and good collaboration with our neighbours, our focus is now on the future of the Baltic Sea.”

As elsewhere global warming is high on the local agenda and this spring Ports of Stockholm’s Board of Directors ratified a new climate and environmental action plan, including the goal of zero emissions from shipping within the port area by 2040. A key factor in achieving this goal is good collaboration with the ports on the other side of the Baltic Sea to find efficient and similar solutions jointly with common customers.

The Port of Helsinki and Ports of Stockholm are working in a goal-oriented way on tangible issues such as onshore power connection and offloading black and grey water, and taking essential steps to reach the goals set. Ville Haapasaari, CEO at Port of Helsinki explained thus:

“In addition to the vessels being a natural and much appreciated part of the character of the city in Helsinki, services between Stockholm and Helsinki have an important socio-economic function and historical importance. The investments made now and in the future to ensure we reach the climate goals set by the Port of Helsinki will secure the important logistics chain for many years to come.”

In Helsinki the Port is committed to supporting the carbon dioxide neutral goal of the City of Helsinki. The port’s own goal is for business operations to be carbon dioxide neutral by 2035 at the latest, as well as to significantly reduce the total carbon dioxide emissions within the port area. Vessel services account for 80% of total carbon dioxide emissions at the Port of Helsinki.

Reduction of emissions is therefore vital to achieving the environmental goals set. Cooperation with the shipping companies and the ports in neighbouring countries is a focus for developing and implementing onshore power connections and other essential measures. Such measures will be essential to preserve the Baltic Sea for those who follow.