Posted on September 22, 2021
Additional EUR 90 million will be invested in the Saimaa Canal infrastructure development and modernization in the coming years, IAA PortNews correspondent cites Pekka Koskinen, the vice chairman of the Finnish Waterway Association, as saying at the international conference “Inland waterways: strategic potential for growth” in the framework of NEVA 2021, the International Maritime Exhibition and Conference for Commercial Shipping, Shipbuilding, Offshore Energy, Ports, Inland Waterways and Oceanography, being held in Saint-Petersburg.
“The recent years have seen investment (into the Saimaa Canal infrastructure development – Ed.) of EUR 15 million for modernization of lower locks and EUR 75 million for construction of two new bridges. There is also a plan for the coming 5 years to invest in construction of icebreaking ships. Planned investments are estimated at additional EUR 90 million” said Pekka Koskinen.
Russian and Finnish businesses and authorities favour the increase of cargo traffic on inland water ways. Modernization and development of the Saimaa Canal will let involve modern ships of larger dimensions thus enhancing the efficiency of cargo transportation between the ports of the Saimaa water system and sea/river ports of Europe.
The Saimaa Canal connects Lake Saimaa to the Gulf of Finland. Nearly half of the Saimaa Canal runs through a land area leased from Russia. The eight locks of the Saimaa Canal are operated via remote control centres at Mälkiä and Brusnitchnoe.
The Saimaa Canal built in 1856 and renovated in 1963-1968 is 57.3 kilometers long including the sea fairway. 23.3 kilometers of it is within the territory of Finland with 34 km in the territory of Russia (including 14.4 kilometers of the approach channel in the Vyborg Bay). Finland rents 19.6 km of the Russian part of the canal. The most recent agreement entered into force in 2012 and expires in 2063.
Modernization of the Saimaa Canal is to be held between April 2022 and October 2024. During the construction works, the traffic of ships will be suspended from May 2022 till May 2023 and from October 2023 and May 2024.