Port of Helsinki
18.11.2021 12:50:51 //
Tiina Parikka
Eemeli Sarka

Safely and efficiently

Digitalisation is the solution for achieving many of the Port of Helsinki’s goals. Efficiency not only generates growth opportunities, but also reduces emissions. And improved information flow ensures that even a bustling environment will remain safe and secure.


The Port of Helsinki wants to be the world’s most functional port. Here, “functionality” means things such as efficient port operations, a seamless passenger experience, and sustainable growth. Digitalisation will play a significant role in all of these areas.

“In 2018, we drew up the first digital roadmap for development projects that will support the achievement of our strategic targets,” says Development Manager Jussi Malm.

Late last year, the roadmap was updated in collaboration with an external consultant. Representatives of all units were involved, and they have since formed a digital team that will address any arising needs under Malm’s leadership.

Jussi Malm
Development Manager Jussi Malm says that digital solutions save both time and work.

“The roadmap spawned a total of 21 partially interlinked projects. The majority of these projects have been business-oriented, such as the Smartport system that we’ve been piloting for passenger car traffic at the West Harbour since the early summer.”

“Smart technology enables a vehicle’s dimensions to be automatically entered into the system, and screens will then guide the vehicle to the correct waiting lane. Automation saves both time and human resources,” says Malm.

The projects have typically involved not only the port itself but also several operators from other areas, which has affected schedules and progress to some extent.

“The coronavirus pandemic has also delayed project launches,” says Malm.

Growth requires greater efficiency

The port is located next to busy roads in the heart of Helsinki. In order to be part of a well-functioning city, the traffic caused by the port – and in particular heavy goods traffic – needs to flow smoothly.

“In Vuosaari, all of the existing space is already in use and there’s no room for growth. If we want to increase cargo volumes, the only option is to reduce waiting times for ships, machinery and heavy goods vehicles,” says Development Manager Jani Lindroos from the cargo traffic unit.

There is already an ongoing project to create a data sharing platform for the container transfer zone.

Jani Lindroos
“Reduced waiting times will enable us to increase cargo volumes,” says Development Manager Jani Lindroos.

“We have one dedicated area for transferring containers between operators. To date, the movement of containers has been controlled through a number of different systems and also partially via email. The platform will speed up information flow and give us a better overview of the situation,” says Lindroos, explaining the benefits of the system that is currently under development. Lindroos, explaining the benefits of the system that is currently under development.

More communication

Many projects are focusing on improving communication between operators.

“In order to improve the communication of critical information, we’re acquiring an app that will be able to issue targeted warnings about accidents or hazards to port, security and other personnel working in a specific area of the port,” says Lindroos.

The app will also enable real-time situational awareness and discussion between operators via, for example, smartphones.

“Similar systems are used for internal communications at nuclear power plants, hospitals and shopping centres,” says Lindroos.

“Although efforts are being made to boost efficiency, safety must not be compromised. Luckily, better and faster information flow also improves safety and security in all areas: cargo safety, border security and occupational safety.”

Towards carbon neutrality

The Port of Helsinki is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2035. Although this Port of Helsinki 29 will require technical modifications to equipment, increased efficiency will itself reduce emissions.

“Shorter waiting times will lead to less idling and thereby fewer emissions,” says Lindroos.

Ecology is therefore an important factor when prioritising projects. Many things have also been tested in advance of future development work.

“Digitalisation also means having the right technological knowledge in place for when we encounter problems or the need for change arises,” says Lindroos.