Finnish Port Association – Finnish Port Days in Naantali
The Finnish Port Days annually gather together decision-makers and influential people from ports to discuss topical issues. This year, however, the event in Naantali was something special. The industry interest promoter and lobbying organisation Finnish Port Association is having its 100th anniversary, and that was celebrated in conjunction with the start of commercial service of Finnlines’ M/S Finnsirius at the Finnish Port Days in Naantali. What great timing to be able to experience the new hybrid vessel and get to talk with 230 participants about themes topical for ports.
Juha Jokela, Programme Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs gave a keynote speech on the EU’s future role amidst geopolitical tensions. Tero Vauraste, Senior BD Advisor at ICEYE in turn assessed the effects of Finland’s NATO membership on the operating environment of maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea. The third interesting and topical keynote speech focused on the future of the EU’s maritime traffic which was envisioned by Professor Kurt Bodewig of the European Commission.
The principal themes in other presentations included the new roles of ports and the possibilities in the energy transition.
Is there need for wind power, sea wind power, electricity, hydrogen, biogas etc. in ports? Yes, all of them certainly, but not all of them in every port.
Port reviews were heard from the Port of Naantali, Kvarken Ports Ltd, and the Port of Raahe.
The propulsion solutions of shipping companies were discussed by General Manager Mikael Ruhala from CMA CGM, COO Thomas Doepel from Finnlines, Managing Director Matti-Mikael Koskinen from ESL-Shipping, and CEO Tiina Tuurnala from the Finnish Shipowners’ Association.
The other main theme of the Finnish Port Days was strengthening the resilience of ports in the increasingly insecure operating environment. The presentation on what ports need to know about Finland’s NATO membership gathered an audience from different parts of Finland. The current competition law issues of ports focused similarly on highly topical market questions. The audience was also interested in the potential of automation and digitalisation in transport chains, as well as the funding of investments in the EU’s transport programmes.
The development of the Port of Naantali and new investments were comprehensively present in the conference programme. Networking of port management and experts is a key element of the Finnish Port Days. The support of cities to the port operations was also visible in Naantali as Mayor Laura Leppänen greeted the audience. And this year the sunny early autumn weather also provided a wonderful setting for the dinner party at Kaivohuone.
Thoughts of Kirsti Tarnanen-Sariola, Deputy Director of the Finnish Ports Association on the Finnish Port Days:
“The mood at this year’s Finnish Port Days was extremely enthusiastic already beforehand thanks to the topical and diverse programme and related activities. And that was also the mood during the actual event, which is always heart-warming for the organisers. Once again we had the chance to work together with skilled and reliable professionals both in the port enterprise and at the event venues. A big thank-you to everyone!
This year the participants included more people representing the stakeholders of the port sector than before. For the member companies, the Finnish Port Days is always an eagerly awaited meeting of the port family, but it seemed that the stakeholder guests also got into interesting discussions and joined the great mood of a family event. The port industry is used to co-operating with many different parties, which comes out well in situations like this.
As for myself, I had last visited the Port of Naantali just over three years ago. So much has changed there since then! It was once again an indication that the ports know how to get things moving on! The central harbour area had been re-arranged and expanded, shore-side electricity connection and automooring equipment were ready for the new vessel Finnsirius, and the visit on board the ship invited comments such as “I absolutely have to take a cruise!” See you on a cruise!