Port and Logistics Day gained a lot of popularity
For many of us, Satama- ja logistiikkapäivä (Port and Logistics Day) was the first opportunity in a long time to meet professionals from the industry face to face. This could be seen in the number of participants, which climbed to around 200. The topics of the speeches led the seminar guests ‘to the Routes of the Future’.
The first Port and Logistics Day was held in November 1971, and when the host of the 2021 event, Pia Pakarinen, asked the audience in the seminar hall of the Marina Congress Center who had been there on that first day, she was not the only one to lift her hand. Since that first time, the event has been held every second year. Thus, the event held on 3 November 2021 was the 22nd Port and Logistics Day.
True to this year’s theme, ‘To the Routes of the Future’, all presenters kept their eyes tightly on the future. Ville Haapasaari, the CEO of the Port of Helsinki, talked about the Port’s future development. The related development programme will soon be presented to the City executives for processing. The programme summarises the port investments linked to each other for a ten-year period, in accordance with the centralisation principle previously decided on by the City Council. Tallinn traffic will be centralised to the West Harbour and Stockholm traffic to Katajanokka, which means that a large part of the South Harbour will become free for the City to use for other purposes.
Implementing this development programme requires new terminal facilities both in the West Harbour and at Katajanokka as well as more efficient land traffic in the West Harbour, implemented with a harbour tunnel to Länsiväylä.
“I firmly believe in this programme. This purposeful direction will open new doors for us,” says the Mayor of Helsinki, Juhana Vartianen, in reference to the Port’s development programme.
The sea connects us to wealth
The Port and Logistics Day was Vartiainen’s 93rd day as mayor. He highlighted the importance of the sea and the port to the city.
“The Baltic Sea is a central part of Helsinki’s birth, growth and current well-being. Throughout our history, the sea has been the basis of our city’s well-being and growth as well as a prerequisite for the trade, logistics and internationality of Helsinki. The sea connects us to the rest of the world and has allowed us to participate in the international division of work, i.e. wealth,” said the mayor.
Professor Ulla Tapaninen from Tallinn University of Technology also spoke about international division of work. Logistics chains are vulnerable to market disruptions, the effects of which reach all the way to Finland.
“Logistics are not only about transport, they are also about storage, and the warehouse costs of logistics are higher than their transport costs. With attempts to reduce the sizes of warehouses, we have become more dependent on transport costs,” Tapaninen stated.
We are undergoing a global container crisis, which has increased the price of container cargo seven-fold from Shanghai to Europe, for example. During the pandemic, demand came to a halt and production was downsized, but when the world started to reopen, the demand surprised the transport systems.
“Many ports are still not working at a full capacity. Ships are waiting to be unloaded and the containers stay on the ships. More containers and ships have been ordered, but production will not be able to get past this bottleneck for a long time,” Tapaninen said.
Container crisis has a limited impact in Finland
Over the past decades, container traffic in particular has grown globally, in addition to dry bulk transport. Usually, the most expensive cargo is transported in containers, which, however, mostly travel between continents. Only 12% of foreign trade transported via sea in Finland was transported in containers last year. Liquid or dry bulk made up 72%.
“Our traffic takes place on the Baltic Sea. We are not as dependent on containers as some other places are,” Tapaninen said.
However, she predicts that the different supply chain variants will also become more common in Finland. Some containers also now travel by rail, but rail transport is vulnerable to political disruptions. Digitalisation, too, is changing logistics.
“We are only just starting to become aware of all the opportunities digitalisation offers, and it will impact the entire logistics chain. When files that would previously have been sent as e-mail attachments can all be entered in the same system, the flow of information will improve. This will have a major impact,” Tapaninen predicts.
More events onboard
Permanent Secretary Minna Kivimäki from the Ministry of Transport and Communications spoke about the emission reductions of maritime transport and its effects on logistics in Finland. By Kivimäki’s estimation, improving the energy-efficiency of vessels is no longer enough; new power solutions are needed.
In total, 70% of maritime import in Finland comes from the Baltic Sea region. This also means that a large proportion of foreign trade of certain cargo types is transported on RoRo and RoPax vessels. Kivimäki considered improving the energy-efficiency of these vessel types to be especially important.
Economist Juho Kostiainen from Nordea presented the future perspectives on the Finnish economy. They are very positive, both from the perspectives of companies and consumers, but the aging population will put pressure on public finances.
To top off the day, Madventures duo Riku Rantala and Tuomas Milonoff used their own travel experiences to predict what the future of passenger ships could look like. It seems certain that even more events will be offered onboard ships in the future.