Survey: Rail Baltica moving cargo between Finland, Adriatic has potential

Render of a Rail Baltica train.
Render of a Rail Baltica train. Source: RB Rail AS

Cargo transport along the planned Rail Baltica connection has potential where freight moving between the Baltic and the Adriatic Sea is concerned, a new survey commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications finds.

According to the study, the long-term competitiveness of rail cargo transport along Rail Baltica and headed for the Adriatic is feasible.

"Forecasting the future carriage volumes [moving along] Rail Baltica, we shouldn't give in to the notion that Rail Baltica will be competing for cargo flows only within the immediate region," Professor Erik Terk of Tallinn University said. Terk oversaw the work on the study.

He went on to explain that the study is international, and that it looks at the probable dynamic of the competitiveness of various means of transport.

According to experts who know the specifics of each available form of transport, rail transport did well, Terk said. Beyond looking at each means of moving freight, the fact also needs to be taken into consideration that the full chain may consist of several different links.

The transport channels connecting the Baltic with the Adriatic region shows great potential for Rail Baltica, as it will likely carry both local as well as transit freight.

"These goods might come from Southeast or Central Europe, for instance, but also elsewhere, Asia for instance," Terk said. "Instead of moving to Northern Europe fist and then around Europe, the goods could enter some Adriatic port via the Suez Canal and continue their journey north from there along Rail Adriatica, and Rail Baltica after that."

The study lists Finland in the north and India in the south as countries of strategic importance for Rail Baltica in the context of the Adriatic corridor, to which countries in between can be counted as well, such as Austria, the Czech Republic, and Turkey.

According to the findings of the study, in the early years of Rail Baltica, goods connected with Southeastern and Central Europe, including Turkey, have a bigger potential. "Today trade between Finland and India is still modest, and random in nature. However, according to forecasts, the Indian economy could make up approximately 10 percent of the world economy already by 2030. Considering the demand arising from that, we can assume that the Finnish industrial sector will adapt," Terk said.

According to the study's projections, goods from Finland will make up between 50 and 75 percent of the total freight moved along Rail Baltica, with local exports adding to that in the Baltic states.

Overall freight transportation trends are expected to be favorable for Rail Baltica in 2030-2050, as the price of freight transportation by sea measured in comparable prices is not expected to decrease. The cost of road transport is expected to increase, the study states.

The survey was carried out by way of interviewing 35 experts, including 19 from abroad and 16 from Estonia, between January and March this year.


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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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