Corridors Go Digital

Logistics seek new service-driven pipelines to re-energize the industry

artikkelikuva: Corridors Go Digital

Photo: Port of Helsinki

Mobility keeps reinventing itself. While killer apps and paradigm-busting concepts are shaping especially urban/personal transport, it’s worthwhile to consider also the growth corridors for goods. A new concept under that name Corridor as a Service (CaaS) has been developed in order to improve logistics through digital services so that Finland can become a world-class logistics hub for tomorrow’s cargo.

Corridor as a Service is coordinated by Traffic Lab, an experimental project launched by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, and developed together with Technical Research Centre VTT, startup company Vediafi, Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi and other organizations belonging to the CaaS Consortium.

The goal of the new operating model is to improve ground-breaking logistics in a business-led manner in order to facilitate international commerce. For companies, this approach offers opportunities for developing both currently existing and new forms of business activities, and for improving transport operations and for networking.

Photo: City of Vantaa / Sakari Manninen

Enabling Innovation
Trafi Director Juha Kenraali comments that Finland has the opportunity to become a true international hub in this field.

“We promote an enabling environment and those measures which can lead to the creation of new digital services and business models,” explains Kenraali.

Finland’s competitive position in the advancement of international logistics is being promoted through cooperation between the public and private sector. “For example, VTT is very keen to participate in the project,” says Project Manager Lasse Nykänen from VTT.

into digitalized logistics of new operating models and technologies which support networking and transport automation – and also in the growing business activities that they enable,” says Nykänen.

Photo: Port of Helsinki

This means, for example, that prioritized passage can be given to truck convoys, thus increasing delivery reliability and providing time savings of over 10% at traffic lights, border crossings and road toll points.

Silk Road Relaunch
One dimension of CaaS is the Nordic Silkway CaaS project, an ecosystem which reaches all the way to China. Vediafi, the first CaaS services operator is teaming up with Trafi and regional development company Kouvola Innovation (Kinno) to push the “new Silk Road” – running from Finnish Southeast city of Kouvola to Chinese city of Xi’an – into the next level.

Project Manager Matti Lankinen from Vediafi explains that the idea is to create a digital marketplace where transport can flow more efficiently, quickly and economically.

“The cooperation with Kouvola Innovation opens up new logistical opportunities for rail services between Kouvola and Xi’an and for increased trade between Europe and Asia via Finnish land, air and sea routes,” says Lankinen.

Ecosystem Emerging
Juha Kenraali notes that the Corridor as a Service ecosystem enables the utilization of logistics chain data flows and improvements to goods logistics through a joint ecosystem that covers both the public and private sector.

“The ecosystem also offers the opportunity for developing current and new business activities, improving goods transport, and networking within a shared ecosystem,” says Kenraali.

Specialist Mika Lammi from Kouvola Innovation adds that Kinno brings to the project a service through which goods traveling between Kouvola and Xi’an can be transported by rail utilizing digital services.

“China’s growth centers offer abundant opportunities for Finnish trade and industry,” Lammi believes.

No Guts, No Glory
Digitalization and ecosystems are very much part of the Futures report of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, published in June 2018. Harri Pursiainen, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, comments that future transport need “an even bolder vision” in which Finland will be a global hub for the mobility of people, goods and data.

The Futures review assesses the future prospects and action points in the transport and communications sectors on the basis of four themes: services, data, climate and networks.

The report finds that restoration of the current transport network – and construction of new routes that would serve the entire Europe – will call for significant additional investments. The Ministry and Transport Agency calculate the growth-boosting transport costs to amount as much as EUR 60 billion during the next ten years.

Photo: Pixabay

However, while the annual financing of transport investments in the state budget has been, on average, around EUR 450 million, the implementation of future transport projects using the current spending limits would take more than 130 years.

Challenges Remain
According to the report, the repair debt of the transport network is worth EUR 2.5 billion and it must be reduced. The level of appropriations for the basic transport infrastructure has a direct influence on the amount of the repair debt.

The requirement for emission reductions in transport is also very substantial. Finland is committed to halving the 2005 level of transport emissions by 2030. The country’s aim is that transport will be carbon- free by 2045.

Writer: Sami J. Anteroinen

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