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50 years of effective Finnish-Swedish cooperation in winter navigation research

Published 30.11.2023

The Winter Navigation Research Board (Talvimerenkulun tutkimuslautakunta, Styrelsen för vintersjöfartsforskning) was established by Finland and Sweden 50 years ago to solve shared winter challenges in the Baltic Sea. According to a recent effectiveness evaluation, the research conducted together has been highly practical, useful and cost-efficient. 

Today, year-round navigation is considered self-evident, but this has not always been the case. Winter navigation is vital for Finland’s industry and merchant shipping. In 1972, Finland and Sweden began cooperation in the form of the Winter Navigation Research Board (WNRB) in order to solve shared challenges caused by winter conditions in the Baltic Sea. Since then, the WNRB has funded and published a total of 125 research publications, and the publication activities have continued to this day. 

The WNRB members include the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the Swedish Transport Agency and the Swedish Maritime Authority SMA. In order to honour the 50-year existence of the WNRB, its members decided to commission an effectiveness evaluation to determine the benefits achieved through research and how the activities could be improved in the future. 
The evaluation states that the WNRB funding has mostly been effective or highly effective, and although the WNRB is a relatively small operator, it has managed to produce significant partial results into larger projects. The research conducted has been highly practical, useful and cost-efficient.

“One of the significant end products developed through the WNRB are the latest Finnish-Swedish ice class rules that act as the basis for many ice class rules used around the world. We are happy with the evaluation results and especially with the added value that we have been able to produce for winter navigation and society as a whole. This encourages us to move forward!” states Senior Inspector Ville Häyrynen from Traficom.

“International winter navigation collaboration with Sweden is an everyday occurrence in icebreaking each winter. The decades of research cooperation have developed this work further and been highly significant for both countries. The cooperation provides us with valuable information on factors impacting the winter navigation system and helps us improve year-round vessel traffic critical to Finland’s foreign trade,” Head of Maritime Transport Unit Helena Orädd from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency sums up.
Study the effectiveness evaluation of the WNRB research activities

More information:
Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom: Ville Häyrynen, Senior Inspector,, tel. +358 29 534 6148

Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency: Helena Orädd, Head of Unit, [email protected], tel. +358 29 534 3321