Effects of opening a new connection are being investigated. New connection would divert heavy traffic away from major cities and congestion, speed up traffic, reduce emissions and open up new opportunities for on-demand travel.
The purpose of the EU-funded REFEC project is to make a broad assessment of whether there would be a need for a new connection and what measures would be required to open the connection and what effects would the new route have.
There is a need for transport between Eastern Finland and Eastern Estonia. The bottleneck of the transport corridor has been the lack of shipping connections in the eastern Gulf of Finland, says the project manager of the REFEC project, specialist researcher Reima Helminen of the University of Turku’s Maritime Education and Research Centre.
In addition to the University of Turku, the city of Loviisa, Port of Kunda and the Eastern Uusimaa development company Posintra are involved in the project. The so-called support partners in the project are the Port of Loviisa, Lovisa Forwarding & Stevedoring, Oy The Federations Stevedore in Lovisa Ab, Schenker Oy and Western Estonian Regional Council.
The project started on 1.12.2017.
Faster connection between Eastern Finland and Eastern Estonia
The opening of the connection between Loviisa and Kunda would offer both Estonia and Finland a new kind of opportunity to divert heavy traffic away from the capital city centre area.
This would reduce urban congestion, number of microparticles, dust and noise.
For traffic, it would offer the opportunity to get quickly, without congestion, from Eastern and Central Finland to Eastern Estonia and by Via Baltica elsewhere in Europe.
The advantage of the new connection would be a direct south-north route through the territorial waters of Estonia and Finland. Ports can also provide enough parking and waiting areas for heavy traffic drivers.
The new ferry traffic would bring economic growth opportunities to the Loviisa and Kunda areas, create new business in the region and increase the customer base.
Commuting between Finland and Estonia
The main target group for the ferry service would be heavy traffic. In addition to heavy traffic, Estonians and Finns who travel by car could also travel on the route, and why not others as well, such as tourists. However, actual passenger traffic with its terminals is not being planned.
New connection would reduce emissions
Based on the comparisons made in the project, the opening of a new connection would reduce traffic emissions in transport between Eastern Finland and Eastern Estonia. Avoiding congestion would also be a great benefit of the connection. Both ports also have short distances to the freeway, which streamlines traffic and contributes to reducing emissions.
Results of the effectiveness study will be published in the autumn
The effects of the opening of the new ferry service have will be clarified during the autumn. The project ends 30.11.2020.
Each transport company and shipping company makes its own transport decisions independently, but in the autumn there is a lot of background information for decision making.