“The Barents Freeway” project within the Kolarctic ENPI CBC Programme (application for 3rd round)

The Barents Freeway is a project aimed at economic and social development of local communities in the Kolarctic area through optimization of transport infrastructure on the basis of the Common Barents Region Transport Strategy. Project duration time is 30 months (2.5 years) from the launch of the project and total budget is 1 400 000 EUR. Lead Partner is Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Lapland ELY), Finland. Although the Project takes place in the Barents Region, it is important that the four national governments (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia) are integrated in the Project.

The Project’s first phase includes start activity and seminars to get knowledge of the national strategic priorities of countries-partners and form partners’ common strategic vision and awareness of common benefits and challenges, which demands united efforts. The second phase includes case-studies within the Barents Region aimed to deep and system analyzing of current characteristics and prospects of developing each mode of transport. The third phase includes activities to produce a draft of the integrated Barents Region Transport Strategy, which is ready to wide public discussions. 

Co-operation between the Barents Region

Expected results are Improved possibilities for co-operation between the Barents Region transport administrations on the base of awareness of common challenges and opportunities, which might be implemented quicker and with better cumulative result because of united efforts and resources; Improved investment attractiveness of transport projects because of their coordination and interaction within a common transport strategy; Higher competitiveness of the businesses of Barents Region (improved accessibility to large scale markets) and transit logistics chains via the Barents Region (elimination of hindrances and decreasing logistics cost of consignors from the third regions).

Economic and social development of local communities in the Kolarctic area through optimization of transport infrastructure development on a base of the common Barents Region Transport Strategy responding to new challengers arising in the Arctic and Northern periphery thanks to Integration of the current transport strategies, plans and projects of each country into the common Barents Region transport strategy, in order to create a platform to apply system approach when decision making and launch synergy effect in transport infrastructure developing. 

New ways for Barents transport connections

The current orientation of transport networks in the Barents Region Countries is dominantly south-north. This is due to the long history of the transport system development when the networks were built based on the national needs and within the confines of the national borders. By and large, the current national transport strategies in the Barents Region are still based on the inertia of south-north thinking. Globalization will, however, necessitate and also provide new ways for developing the regional economies inside the Barents Region, but the current, poorly developed east-west transport connections put severe hindrances to meeting these new needs.

The optimized transport system will increase contribution of transport to sustainable development of businesses, higher employment rates and the quality of life in all territories of the Northern Periphery of Europe. The important output of the transport infrastructure optimization is elimination of negative impact of transport activities to the fragile ecosystems and traditional economic activities of the indigenous inhabitants of the Barents Region.