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Five from Finland

Maritime industry

The Finnish maritime industry has well and truly got its sea legs. 

Julia Helminen

Being transformed through a stronger focus on environmental compliance, increasing connectivity and new business models, the maritime industry continues to make a significant splash for Finland’s economy.

With over 1 000 kilometres of coastline, Finland has always had to have a close relationship with the sea in order to transport people and goods. Combining a long-standing tradition in the maritime with the latest technology, the country keeps on delivering innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions. Among them are solutions for smart and green ports, which are believed to central in future transport chains. With its status as the global pacemaker for sustainable development, outstanding digital competitiveness and inventive technology knowhow, Finland is home to a plethora of companies providing their expertise across the entire port logistics value chain.

Let’s take a closer look at what else Finnish maritime professionals have recently been up to.


Introduced in 2022, ARC 130 S is the latest member in the family of icebreaking vessels designed by Aker Arctic, pushing the industry forward.

Aker Arctic

With winter temperatures which can plummet below -30C, it is not surprising that Finland is known for its icebreaker expertise. In fact, 80 per cent of the world’s icebreakers have been designed in Finland and 60 per cent have been built at Finnish shipyards.

Established in 2005 as a spinoff of Aker Yards (formerly, Wärtsilä Helsinki Shipyard), Aker Arctic takes pride in being a forerunner in icebreaking technology. One of the company’s design highlights is Polaris, the world’s first icebreaker to feature dual-fuel engines capable of using both low-sulphur marine diesel oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Built in 2016, Polaris has been globally recognised as the most environmentally friendly icebreaker.

In 2020, the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency chose Aker Arctic to design next-generation icebreakers that cater to the escort needs of larger merchant ships and take into account future-proofing needs in sustainability. As a result of the challenging project, Aker Arctic earlier this year introduced Aker ARC 130 S, an energy-efficient design with the possibility of using various green fuel alternatives, including hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), liquefied biogas (LBG) and fossil-free biomethanol.

“Many of the innovations used in the 2016-built Polaris have been developed further to achieve even higher efficiency, anticipating future environmental regulations,” explained Maximilian Vocke, project manager at Aker Arctic.


With a long heritage as a marine product and solution supplier, Wärtsilä is leading the industry transformation towards a smarter, safer and cleaner future.


As a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine market, Wärtsilä is serving the needs of a wide customer base covering all the major marine segments. With the broadest offering in the industry, Wärtsilä’s solutions are in high demand in all parts of the globe. In August, for example, Wärtsilä Voyage announced it has been appointed to digitalise the maritime operations of all 21 ports operated by Associated British Ports, the largest ports group in the UK.

Decarbonising the shipping industry is at the top of Wärtsilä’s agenda. In addition to rethinking vessel designs to minimise emissions, Wärtsilä delivers its expertise by uniting dedicated industry players. Last December, the company launched Zero Emission Marine, a four-year co-operation project which aims to develop sustainable maritime solutions. Bringing together nearly 200 large, medium and small enterprises from the fields of clean fuels, fuel technologies as well as automated and optimised operations, the project has been granted 20 million euros in funding by Business Finland. The ecosystem’s members strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the marine sector by 60 per cent by 2030, pledging to deliver carbon neutral or carbon negative products by 2050.

“No one can achieve these ambitious targets on their own, but this unique maritime co-operation body can turn vision into reality,” commented Hannu Mäntymaa, managing director at Wärtsilä Finland. “Wärtsilä’s ‘Set for 30’ climate targets demonstrate our commitment to developing a sustainable society. We invest significantly in research and development, and in long-term product development we focus on fuel flexibility, energy efficiency and emission reductions.”

Moreover, Wärtsilä opened last summer its new technology centre, Sustainable Technology Hub, in the city of Vaasa to foster innovation, collaboration and production of green marine and energy technologies.


Each Norsepower’s rotor sail typically yields fuel savings of 300 tonnes and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 900 tonnes a year.


Since 2012, this clean technology and marine engineering company has been on a mission to reduce the environmental impact of shipping through its patented rotor sail technology. A modernised take on the century-old Flettner rotor, the technology allows ships to harness the wind to generate thrust, cut emissions and reduce fuel consumption by 5–25 per cent.

“This is cleantech at its cleanest,” CEO Tuomas Riski told us a few years ago. “The technology’s potential to reduce an industry’s total carbon emissions is simply staggering.”

According to Riski, the solution is future-proofed as it also enables ship owners to improve their performance on the criteria to be adopted by the International Maritime Organisation in 2023: the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI).

What makes Norsepower’s rotor sail solution even more appealing is the fact that it can be installed on new or retrofitted on existing ships, with individual design adaptations possible. In 2020, for example, Norsepower unveiled the world’s first tiltable rotor sail installed onboard SEA-CARGO’s roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) cargo vessel SC Connector.

Last summer brought about an exciting deal for Norsepower. In June, the company announced it has received financing from Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (Nefco) to expand its rotor sail production in China. In recent years, Norsepower has established two fully owned subsidiaries, in Hong Kong and Yancheng, to respond to the growing demand in Asia.


According to One Sea, autonomous vessels are evolving rapidly and will become part of everyday maritime operations in relatively near future.

One Sea

Autonomous ships are widely recognised as the future of marine traffic, bringing new opportunities for the sector in terms of sustainability, efficiency and safety. Established in Finland in 2016 and bringing together high-profile maritime and technology experts, the One Sea alliance aims to achieve commercial autonomous maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea by 2025.

Led by DIMECC, the alliance includes ABB, CargotecFinnpilotFintrafficHaltian, Kongsberg, Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI), TietoEVRYWärtsilä and Sea Machines Robotics, a leading developer of autonomous command, control and advanced perception systems for vessels that joined the network a few months ago.

One Sea utilises its members’ combined expertise in research projects, technological development and policy advocacy. A key initiative is a test area called Jaakonmeri (‘Jaakko’s Sea’ in Finnish), located near Turku. It is the world’s first open test area for trialling everything from sensor systems to entire autonomous ships in real-world conditions.

Earlier this year, One Sea published Autonomous Ships: Terms of Reference for Rule Development, a white paper which offers a route forward for developing and implementing an international regulatory framework for maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS).

“One Sea has provided the maritime and shipping industry with a platform to contribute to the regulatory process for MASS,” Sinikka Hartonen said upon her recent appointment as secretary general. “This remains a top priority for One Sea and its members; it is essential that progress is made swiftly on developing goal-based regulations which give precedence to safety but also allow technologies to be used efficiently.”


Rauma Marine Constructions employs approximately 200 shipbuilding experts, whose solid expertise helps to advance the Finnish marine industry.

Rauma Marine Constructions

Located in Rauma, a city on the west coast of Finland with a shipbuilding tradition dating back to the 16th century, Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) was founded in 2014 and is currently the only domestically owned shipbuilding company of its size range. RMC is an expert in the construction and maintenance of multi-purpose icebreakers, car and passenger ferries, as well as navy vessels.

Last year, RMC reported it has delivered a new car and passenger ferry, Aurora Botnia, to Wasaline, a Finnish cruise operator on the route between Vaasa and Umeå, Sweden. Capable of running on both biogas and liquefied natural gas and featuring a wealth of other environmental technology, Aurora Botnia became the world’s first car and passenger ferry to earn the clean-design class notation.

More recently, RMC made headlines for embarking on a project to come up with solutions that enable carbon-neutral shipping between Turku and Stockholm, Sweden. The project carried out by RMC, Viking Line, Åbo Akademi University and Kempower has received nearly 1.6 million euros in funding from Business Finland.

“The solutions developed in the project will enable fully carbon-neutral freight and passenger travel between Turku and Stockholm, but the project will also be scalable to other routes,” said Mika Laurilehto, interim chief executive at RMC. “This is important since all EU countries, Finland included, have signed on to build green maritime transport corridors.”

By: Zhanna Koiviola