By Sami J. Anteroinen
This article was published in NORDICUM 1/2008
The European Union wants its Member States to take a long, hard look at energy consumption. Transportation is a key area when one talks about curbing Climate Change. Unfortunately, Finland is one of those sparsely populated countries where distances are great – and logistics will always pose a challenge no matter what.
However, on January 24, 2008 the Finnish transport and logistics industry committed itself to pursuing a nine per cent energy savings by 2016. The goal of the agreement is to get 60 per cent of the logistics companies to abide by the set targets. The agreement applies also to rail cargo.
The arrangement is a voluntary one, but it seems that at least the key logistics players genuinely want to do their part in combating Climate Change. After all, a green image is something that goes a long way with the customers.
It is also noteworthy that the demand for more environmental logistics is bound to create new innovation in the field. Logistics was one of the themes of Finland’s EU Presidency and the Finns have been in the forefront of developing traffic-related technology for a long time. Whether one talks about smart cars or fleet management, the tendency is to cut down on energy consumption.
Finland receives another golden opportunity to be a leader in the field, as the International Transport Forum (ITF), meets in Leipzig, Germany, in May. This year the Presidency of the International Transport Forum will be held by Finland and the meetings will be chaired by Ms Anu Vehviläinen, Finland’s Minister of Transport (see cover).
The Forum will discuss issues such as the influence of transport on Climate Change, energy efficiency in transport, and alternative fuels.
The ITF meeting will be given a Finnish touch, with Finnish opinion leaders and top specialists among keynote speakers, for instance. Finnish know-how in the field of transport will also be showcased in an exhibition arranged in connection with the meeting.
ITF comprises 52 member countries, with new full members including big OECD member countries such as the USA, Japan and Australia.
Hopefully, Finland is able to capitalise on its past successes and get real results from Leipzig.■