Start date: Jan 3, 2005,
End date: May 2, 2007
The Baltic Tangent (BT) project derives from the unsatisfying socio-economic situation in large parts of the BT area. The peripheral location in relation to the main transport infrastructure corridors in the BSR, constitutes a serious disadvantage for economic and labor market development of partnership regions in the Baltic States, Scandinavia and Russia. The BT project therefore has focused on how road, railroad and maritime traffic links to the main transport corridors (TEN) should be improved, in order to achieve better accessibility of trade and industry in the co-operating regions to these corridors and thereby to enhance the prospects for the regions and municipalities concerned to benefit from the economic growth potential of the South Baltic Sea area.The project aim has been to produce a comprehensive strategy, a partnership and an action plan for implementation of this improved transport infrastructure network linked to the main TEN north-south transport routes in Scandinavia and the Baltic States with links further east. The BT project outcome was expected to add new perspectives to transnational cooperation for the development of the southeast Baltic Sea Region and its relation to the Russian and far east markets. The project will accordingly also generate knowledge of general interest about ways and means of how an improved secondary transport infrastructure network linked to the TEN main routes at adds values for the socio economic development at local, regional, interregional and transnational level of government. In particular regarding spatial planning, logistic concepts and other conditions for economic and labor market development.The project period of 28 months ended 30 April 2007, and the 33 partners (plus additional supporting partners) from the three Baltic states, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Finland and Russia have conducted activities in four Work Packages where WP1 has dealt with spatial planning and infrastructure integration and WP2 with logistics and BT aspects on intermodal freight transport solutions. The task of WP3 has been to develop the main outcome of the project, based on a transnational transport infrastructure strategy for the BT cooperation area. The responsibility of WP4 has been internal and external dissemination and information activities throughout the project duration.The Baltic Tangent Tacis component was launched in June 2006, adding two additional Russian partners to the integrated project. The aim of this integrated part has been to define the Baltic Tangent perspectives in the Russian partner region Pskov and to come up with proposals how to improve the freight transport situation in the east-west connection linking to Moscow and the Trans Siberian railway corridors in the east - and to the Estonian and Latvian Rail Baltic alignment and the Baltic coast in the west. The project component will be officially closed in the beginning of June 2007. Both the ERDF and the Tacis components have received TEDIM status/certificate as important and promising project concepts.The transport infrastructure in the BT regions and its transnational links are today to a very large extent depending on long distance road transports. The freights with origin or destination in the BT area are – more precisely - often transported on roads, either direct to and from the Western European countries or to/from ports with transport distances of 300 km or more as a consequence. In addition, there are considerable volumes of north-south oriented transit transports on road, with destination and origin in the BSR and further east. These are the predominant transport patterns, meaning among others that ports located in the BT area are unfortunately not used in relation to their capacities.A fundamental dimension of the Baltic Tangent project is its Russian link as a fully integrated part of the concept as well as an extension on Russian ground to transport corridors heading for Central Asia and China. The investment in a centre for Chinese trade on the European market is now launched with Chinese capital in Kalmar - the Fanerdun Trade Expo. It proves to be a very concrete illustration that the development of the BSR should not just be related to the macro-region as such and the strong economic growth to be expected in for instance the Russian economy, but also focus on this region as a platform for a globally expanding Chinese industry with strong ambitions regarding business with Europe.With this as a background and considering the fast growing economies with accompanying transport flows in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) including North West Russia, and with extensions towards China and the far east, it must be considered as urgent to create better conditions both for the industry of the respective regions to benefit from its strategic geographic location in the BSR, through effective transport infrastructure, facilities and logistics – and for transit traffic. Achievements: The overall conclusion made within the framework of the BT project is that there is an urgent need of strategic investments, targeting the negative impact of transport infrastructure bottlenecks in the BT area and the absence of real competitive transport logistic systems with good access to the TEN-T structure. The alternative is that large parts of the BT corridor of regions otherwise could lack further behind neighboring regions in preconditions for sustainable growth and accordingly face problems to benefit from the BSR as a fast developing market place in a European and a global perspective.The project has concluded that measures for improvements primarily should be carried out in five bottleneck areas. The border crossings between Russia and Latvia and Estonia, rail capacity in the Baltic States, Riga traffic congestion, port and ferry capacities and the rail/road standard in the Swedish BT parts. Measures to eliminate or improve the situation concerning these bottlenecks will be most important as means for improving the accessibility to the main TEN corridors within the BT economic corridor. Furthermore the project analyses and discussions have underlined the importance of targeted initiatives for development of co modality in the BT area by development of logistic nodes. By these measures good access to the north south bound TEN-T corridors of the BSR will be accomplished as well as improved conditions for transit traffic in the east – west transport concept connecting Russia and extensions further east with the Baltic sea and also connecting the Rail Baltica, the Motorways of the Baltic sea and the Nordic Triangle in the BT east-west direction.The project proposals provide project partner regions as well as private stakeholders with new perspectives, knowledge and therefore an improved basis for actions. The working method of the project has been to build on a continuous partner dialogue with the objective to integrate the project work in actual political processes to attain improved transport infrastructure on local and regional level. One example shows that the transnational BSR perspectives are today very much in focus, when the municipalities and the Kalmar region now agree to speed up the process of elimination of bottlenecks in the land transport infrastructure by offering the state authorities upfront of financial means for launching of projects identified as BT bottlenecks. One important part of this political decision in line with the BT conclusions is the support of the development of the TEN port of Oskarshamn. In both Latvia and Estonia the BT east west perspectives are identified as priority corridors in the governments transport infrastructure planning also encouraging the continuation of the BT process in order to tackle concrete issues for investments. In the Pskov region the BT transport infrastructure focus is highly appreciated and recognized by the regional administration. The project has thus contributed to a political awareness of both obstacles to overcome and options to develop in order to improve the options for sustainable freight transports in this part of the BSR and thereby the preconditions for socio-economic development. The appreciation of the added values of this is also proven by the readiness of key partners to proceed with an application for a BT II project aiming at the development of concrete proposals for investments in bottleneck elimination and in development of logistic facilities and solutions.
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