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Minister Luhtanen: Government will start drafting a logistics programme

Minister Luhtanen: Government will start drafting a logistics programme

Press release 26.02.2004 00.00 en

The Finnish Government has decided to draw up a transport development programme for Finland, which aims to improve transport connections between the European Union and Russia; strengthen the logistic status of Finland; and make use of the economic potential.

Ms Leena Luhtanen, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, informed of this on 26 February 2004 at an international Jubilee Seminar of TEDIM, a development forum for logistics in the Baltic Sea region.

Minister Luhtanen said that among the focal points of the Finnish Government's transport infrastructure policy are international connections and good service level in border-crossings.

- A ministerial working group, which I chaired, just recently published a long-term infrastructure policy programme that emphasises logistic needs. In rail transport development, we paid special attention to the requirements of goods and passenger transport between the EU and Russia. They call for investments in high-speed rail connections to the East, which we also discussed.

- I expect the programme to bring forward concrete proposals on how to better utilise transport agreements and where to place emphasis in transit transport, for example. This way the programme will benefit trade between the whole EU and Russia, Luhtanen said.

Besides transport chains between the EU and Russia, the international TEDIM Seminar also considered the role of Russia in improving connections between Europe and Asia.

The significance of Asia-Europe link was discussed by Mr Zhang Zhijian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Finland. He stressed the importance of the railway connecting China and Europe in promoting trade between the continents. The Chinese Government supports the development of a new railway passage.

Trade transport between Europe and China is carried out almost entirely by sea. Mr Zhijian said that it is not economically viable to transport products from the western part of China to the ports on the eastern coast and to ship them from there to Europe. The journey can be as much as four times the length of the rail connection. Sea carriage as the only mode of goods transport can by no means respond to the needs of the increasing trade between Europe and China, Ambassador Zhijian said.