Finnish Bay Area Development Oy has signed memorandum of understanding with Norwegian Sør-Varanger Utvikling development company on Arctic railway planning and implementation, according to a press release.
This breaking news is being released during Arctic Economic Forum in Rovaniemi, Finland Thursday morning.
Parties commit to examine ways to implement Arctic railway. Specially, wider impacts on environment, society and economy are considered. Parties aim to take views of all stakeholders into account and establish project holding companies to both Finland and Norway.
Moreover, parties will establish a program to promote entrepreneurship, education and industrial development in North Finland and Sør-Varanger, Norway.
Finnish Bay Area Development Oy and Sør-Varanger Utvikling development company will enable and accelerate Northeast Passage related infrastructure development by providing modern railway connection from Finland to Kirkenes harbour.
”We are very pleased about negotiations and co-operation. Sør-Varanger Utvikling invests significantly on development of North Norway and Northeast Passage”, says Kustaa Valtonen from Finnish Bay Area Development.
”Our objective is to plan a project and an operative model which enables international finance for Arctic railway. Arctic railway connects Finland to Northeast Passage. We will provide faster trade route between Asian and European markets”, Valtonen tells.
”This is an important initiative. We will proceed like we do with the Tallinn tunnel project. We will examine all alternatives together with all stakeholders. Collaboration with Sør-Varanger has already started. A good example is ICE entrepreneur event in Kirkenes in the end of May. A delegation of Finnish start-ups will join the event” says Peter Vesterbacka.
Finnish Bay Are Development Oy is a development company to construct significant infrastructure. The largest project currently being planned and designed are the Tallinn tunnel and the four station areas in connection to the tunnel. The project was started in the summer of 2016 with the firm intention to create economic growth for the region.
”It is natural to partner up with Finnish Bay Area Development Oy, given their capacity, and their ability to involve and being agile. They show "sisu" and implementation force, and we will be able to build a lot of momentum in this project! This is a great day for both Norway and Finland, including the towns of Helsinki, Rovaniemi and Kirkenes.”, Sør-Varanger Utvikling operative leader Kenneth Stålsett says in the pressrelease.
- This is very good
Norwegian Sør-Varanger Utvikling development company promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, employment and economic development of Kirkenes area.
"This is very good. A whole new element in the work of putting the Arctic railway back on the agenda. This will give the project a completely different progress than it has had so far", says Kenneth Stålsett, CEO of Sør-Varanger Utvikling to High North News and continues:
"This is a private initiative to build a railroad between Rovaniemi and Kirkenes by the same operator who will build a railway tunnel between Helsinki and Tallin - a project that was fully financed by private capital this winter".
- Is private capital and private initiatives the only way to build the railway between Kirkenes and Rovaniemi?
"No, it is not, but it brings something completely new to the table - at least another business perspective. With private partners who sees the potential in such a railway. We must remember that the railway itself is a tool for further growth. Now work on building a business study, working actively towards the start-up environments both in Kirkenes and Finland and speeding up research and education" Stålslett argues.
- Are you more optimistic now than two months ago?
"Yes, of course! The report that came then was very conservative and negative. What is happening today brings something new to the table" he sums up.