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Vieraskynässä Staffan Herlin: Nyt jos koskaan yhteisellä tekemisellä on paikkansa. Kuvituskuva

Guest column: Staffan Herlin, Head of Group Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Finnlines

Published on 14.3.2023

Russia’s war of aggression has also had significant consequences for logistics in the Baltic Sea region. The West’s trade with Russia has declined dramatically, and Western logistics operators have largely withdrawn from Russia. In a sense, you could therefore say that Finland is once again logistically alone in the north-east of Europe. The collapse of Finnish trade with the East also means that maritime transport accounts for an even larger proportion of our foreign trade, further increasing the island effect.

Meagre goods flows, long distances and structural differences between imports and exports are seriously challenging our competitiveness in the international market. Compared to other EU countries, our logistics operating environment is unique in many respects – and therefore requires original solutions. In order for Finland to be competitive, its logistics sector must be simultaneously both genuinely competitive and synergistic. This requires joint action in areas in which such an approach would be reasonable.

Although major logistics companies operating in a capital-poor country like Finland are mainly under foreign ownership, the steering of these companies is, in practice, largely in our own hands. Finland has always had a strong sense of social cohesion, and a certain level of “national interest” is often present in spite of varying views. Although there is no joint body to steer logistics, numerous forms of cooperation between logistics operators, industry, trade and the public sector are helping to create sensible entities. Common interest is the catalyst for this kind of activity, and it is enabled by a dynamic and transparent society.

Our operating environment is undergoing a drastic transformation, driven by megatrends such as the digital revolution and green transition, and spiced up by the trials of the recent pandemic and the ongoing war with its geopolitical and economic impacts. Now, more than ever, is the time to work together. Society’s resources must be utilised in all areas, and Finland’s famous engineering expertise is needed in logistics, as we create a new foundation for success for the decades to come. There is no room for excessive cliquishness – it will be worth our while to maximise our synergies. The public sector will play a critical role in this, and seamless cooperation with private-sector operators is a prerequisite for success.


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