Today, the transport infrastructure in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR) is divided along national boundaries into distinct national transport systems. Transport across national boundaries is extremely limited, which hampers local economic development. The study is aimed at designing a more connected, efficient and cost-effective maritime logistics system in the BEAR characterized by intermodal transport connections with road and rail transport. In order to achieve this goal, we (1) evaluate and analyze current maritime logistics operations and intermodal sea-land connections in the Barents region; (2) suggest ways to increase the share of overall cargo flow utilizing maritime transport, considering logistics cost and emissions. The project is multidisciplinary in nature. Therefore, the consortium group involves experts representing several academic fields from six organizations located in Norway and Russia, and establishes a Competence Centre on Arctic Transport & Logistics. In addition, our proposal incorporates input from a number of stakeholders, including port users, service providers, port operators, port authorities, ship owners, cargo owners and local governments. This stakeholder participation will contribute to identification of maritime logistics and transshipment operations needs in the Barents region, as well as the services and design features required to meet these needs. Our research team will maintain close cooperation with all key stakeholders.
The project aims to improve the cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability of the transport and logistics system in the Barents Region with focus on Northern Norway. Thus, we address the following: (1) the importance of an effective transport system in enhancing regional socio-economic development; (2) the current state of traffic and cargo flow and predictions for the future; (3) the current state of the logistics system and options for enhancing efficiency and reducing costs; (4) the prerequisites for establishing regional logistics hubs or cluster of smaller logistics centres; (5) environmental risks and impacts of increased traffic and corresponding emissions mitigation methods; and (6) the importance of a maritime intelligent transport system for Northern Norway. This project aligns with the Norwegian government’s objective, to “provide an efficient, accessible, safe and environmentally friendly transport system that covers society’s needs for transport as well as promoting regional development”. Findings from this project have the potential to contribute to the Norwegian National Transport Plan and the Joint Barents Transport Plan (JBTP). The project also aligns with the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), including the promotion of increased transport safety. The project will focus on development of more efficient logistics solutions, which would benefit Norwegian actors in the maritime transport industry and Norwegian retailers. It also has the potential to reduce environmental impacts through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other negative impacts from transport. The project will establish a Competence Centre on Arctic Transport and Logistics in Kirkenes, Northern Norway with several leading logistics experts tied to the UArctic Transport & Logistics Thematic Nework, chaired by CHNL. The Center will promote innovative green transport and logistics solutions in the Northern Norway and in the Barents Region in general.