Ambitious Finnish Initiatives Will Link Arctic Ocean Railway to Germany
28 March 2018
FROM EIR DAILY ALERT
EIRNS—The Finnish government announced on March 9 its decision to plan for an Arctic Ocean Railway line to Norway’s easternmost city, Kirkenes, on the Barents Sea. This decision settled the route for this railway, for which several Norwegian harbors and the Russian harbor Murmansk were competing. The route from Kirkenes will open up a potentially very rich mining region in the north of Finland. It will go to Rovaniemi, which is linked by rail to the rest of Finland. The railway will bring all of Finland and Sweden in contact with the Northern Sea Route, as well as with the huge energy projects in the Arctic.
Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner is pushing for a series of projects linking the Northern Sea Route, through Finland, directly with Central Europe and Germany. She is actively pushing the tunnel project between the Finnish capital, Helsinki, and the Estonian capital, Tallinn. From there the project Rail Baltica exists as one of the dormant nine EU corridor projects (TEN-T) connecting all of Europe. Minister Berner is very actively establishing contact with the relevant institutions in Norway, Sweden, and the Baltic states, as well as with the domestic indigenous people in the area of the Arctic Ocean Railway. Berner was the representative of the Finnish government to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14-15, 2017.
Finland is also pushing for Sweden to create a Bothnian Corridor in both countries on both sides of the Baltic Sea. This horseshoe railway corridor, together with the Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel, Rail Baltica, and the railways in Denmark, Germany, and Poland will complete a Baltic Ring around the whole Baltic Sea.
In a report about the Arctic Ocean Railway, it is made clear that the intention is to work with China through the Arctic. A chapter called “The Arctic Ocean Railway as Part of the Global Transport System” is visionary:
“On a broader scale, the Arctic Ocean Railway is also connected to the aforementioned projects, that is, Rail Baltica and the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel. The Arctic Ocean Railway should therefore be seen as part of the global transport system.... The Arctic Ocean Railway would connect the Arctic region and its vast natural resources to both Finland’s railway network and—via the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel and Rail Baltica—to Central Europe and beyond. The Arctic Ocean Railway would provide an alternative route for Finnish imports and exports. A connection to the Arctic Ocean’s deep, ice-free harbors would open up a connection to the Atlantic and Northeast Passage, and thereby significantly increase Finland’s transport capacity and improve its logistical position and accessibility. Thanks to these connections, Finland’s significance as a Northern European transport route would increase.”
The Finnish Transport Agency issued its Arctic Ocean Railway Report this year. Earlier, the importance of the Arctic Ocean Railway was described in a speech to the Schiller Institute conference in Berlin on Feb. 25-26, 2012 by EIR Stockholm correspondent Ulf Sandmark, “Man in the Arctic—But How?” published in EIR Vol. 39, No. 14, April 6, 2012.