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Five From Finland


Finnish logistics expertise is improving operations around the world.

Credits: : Julia Bushueva

Finland has developed some innovative solutions to improve the efficiency of the logistics industry and is well on its way to becoming a game-changer in the field.

The modern logistics sector is facing new challenges and opportunities stemming from digitalisation, automation and rapidly changing global trends in cargo transport and goods delivery.

Let’s take a closer look at what Finnish logistics professionals have to offer to move things forward, literally.

Opened in early 2018, Finnair’s COOL Nordic Cargo Hub at Helsinki Airport is one of the world’s most state-of-the-art air cargo terminals and a global leader in temperature-controlled logistics.

With over 700 000 kilos of goods carried daily, the new hub is particularly recognised for handling delicate cargo, such as pharmaceuticals and seafood. This is thanks to digital temperature sensors and geolocation technology.

Finnair Cargo maintains a competitive edge through its innovative technical expertise, coupled with Finland’s strategic geographical position as a gateway to Asia. But bigger global changes are already in the air.

“I’m 100 per cent sure there will be a disruption of the industry soon. […] There will be significant change,” anticipated Janne Tarvainen, the managing director at Finnair Cargo at the time. “We should be prepared for the future. The disruption is coming. We want to be part of that.”

Can handling a 30-tonne shipping container be a one-person job? Absolutely! This logistics company offers an easy, cost-effective and user-friendly way to enhance shipping container logistics with its detachable, portable legs for containers to stay on.

“The idea is that anyone driving a truck can attach the legs to a container alone, by lowering [the container] onto the legs [using the truck’s air-suspension], and drive the truck away,” explained global sales manager Sami Seppänen. “The legs are very easy to use, and no investment in training is required.”

The innovative yet simple product is popular with customers across Europe, including Ikea and the Finnish Defence Forces, and the company is planning to set foot outside Europe, notably in the US.

This innovative specialist has been helping shipping businesses and cargo owners to prevent cargo losses with its patented vibration-based technology since 2016.

Using an electronic hammer which gently knocks on container walls, Conexbird’s innovation can be used to gather and analyse data on any container and its cargo without the need for expensive X-ray machines.

“We have sensors measuring how the sound vibrates,” explained business development officer Niko Polvinen. “Then we let our AI collect the data and analyse, for example, whether the lashing has changed since the last knock.”

Building on the industry’s latest development towards automated harbours and ships, Conexbird is aiming to develop a safer and more environmentally friendly logistics chain.

“We want to be part of creating the logistics chain of the future,” Polvinen stated.

The Port of Helsinki is always full of hustle and bustle. The year of 2018, however, was particularly busy for Finland’s main port and ended with heavy passenger traffic and record-breaking numbers in cargo traffic.

A total of 12.1 million international passengers passed through the Port of Helsinki in 2018, making it the busiest international passenger port in Europe, once again. Cargo traffic increased to a new high of 14.7 million tonnes, breaking the previous record from a decade ago.

“We set becoming the most functional port in the world as our vision,” stated Ville Haapasaari, CEO of the Port of Helsinki.

Besides functionality, the port also aims at sustainability through green incentives for vessels that take a proactive stance on reducing emissions.

The much sought-after Finnish logistics expertise is being shared with China through co-operation between JAMK University of Applied Sciences and Huaiyin Institute of Technology. The value of the eight-year contract between the two educational institutions is estimated at nearly one million euros.

The programme awarded with the EUR-ACE Bachelor quality label offers six training modules on logistics annually and an opportunity for some of the Chinese students to study partially at JAMK.

With its rapid economic development and booming manufacturing sector, China’s need for in-depth knowledge of logistics is difficult to overestimate.

“China has already carried out enormous transport infrastructure projects and more are underway both domestically and with neighbouring countries,” pointed out Timo Juntunen, JAMK’s education export manager.


By: Zhanna Koiviola