Port of Helsinki
20.1.2023 13:37:55 //
Vaula Aunola
Sanna Liimatainen, Timo Porthan and the Port of Helsinki

Large-scale West Harbour projects receive EU funding

Port traffic will disappear into a tunnel, all quays are being modernised, and the 1930s T1 Terminal will be demolished and replaced. The West Harbour is preparing for growth in Tallinn traffic.

The Port of Helsinki has received EU funding for the planning phase of the port’s Twin Port IV project. The Ports of Helsinki and Tallinn have already been jointly developing cargo and passenger connections between their harbours since 2011. The Twin-Port projects have significantly improved the efficiency and sustainability of transport connections between the twin cities. The latest project, Twin-Port V, will run until the end of 2025.

The Port of Helsinki will receive approximately EUR 4 million of the EUR 6.8 million in EU funding allocated to the project. This will cover about half of the costs of the planned development programme.

“The EU funding that we’ve received has shown both us and our owners that the Port of Helsinki’s major investments are in line with the EU’s objectives,” says Pekka Meronen, Vice President, Finance, ICT and Development at the Port of Helsinki.

Pekka Meronen
“We’re delighted with the support we’ve received from the EU,” says Pekka Meronen, Vice President, Finance, ICT and Development at the Port of Helsinki.

“So we’re obviously doing the right things in terms of improving the efficiency of traffic flows and the sustainability of our operations,” says Meronen.

Several simultaneous projects

The Twin-Port V project includes the design of an underground access route to the West Harbour, the modernisation of its quays, and the design of the new T1 Terminal.

All three subprojects involve extensive technical, financial and legislative studies.

As a whole, the development programme approved by the City of Helsinki will extend into the 2030s. The planned measures will consolidate traffic and free up some areas for other use by the City.

During the upcoming project, the Port of Tallinn will improve infrastructure in its Muuga and Old Town harbours. 

Port traffic goes underground

In practice, the underground access route to the West Harbour will be a tunnel for both heavy traffic and other vehicles that will directly link the port to Länsiväylä highway.

Traffic volumes will no longer burden city-centre street networks, thereby reducing both congestion and emissions.

“In a way, the tunnel is the key to consolidating Tallinn traffic on the West Harbour. Without it, increasing port traffic would be impossible. The project will also have a major environmental impact,” says Project Director Ari Parviainen.

Environmental impacts thoroughly assessed

The tunnel project is currently at the planning and permit phase.

“An environmental impact assessment is also being carried out during this phase, and likewise for the quay project. In practice, this will take all of next year,” says Parviainen. 

Ari Parviainen
“All of the projects are aiming to consolidate Tallinn traffic on the West Harbour. The EU has therefore allocated funding to project planning rather than implementation,” says Project Director Ari Parviainen.

“These phases are all long and labour-intensive.”

Construction work on the tunnel will begin in 2024 at the earliest.

“The planned repair of the West Harbour’s quays may be launched earlier, as the permit process is simpler.”

All of the West Harbour’s quays will be modernised.

“In practice, some of them will be completely rebuilt.”

Shore power connections for vessels will also be built on the quays as part of the renovations. Currently, shore power is only available on the two newest quays. 

“The environmental impact of this will also be considerable.”

Old terminal to be replaced

The T1 Terminal, which was originally built as a port warehouse back in the 1930s, will be completely replaced with a new building.

“It was converted into a terminal to handle growth in Tallinn traffic. However, it’s now impractical for our current needs and is difficult to reach.”  

Parviainen does not think it worthwhile to renovate the existing building.

“The building has naturally been renovated and expanded over the years, but it’s now in such poor condition that it’s clearly reached the end of its lifecycle.”

“Its location also prevents us from developing the port’s traffic arrangements as planned.”