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Five from Finland

Maritime industry

Finland's maritime industry stands at the forefront of innovation and sustainability.

Julia Helminen

With a stronger focus on environmental compliance, increasing connectivity and new business models, the Finnish maritime industry continues to make a significant splash.

With over 1 000 kilometres of coastline, Finland has always had to have a close relationship with the sea to transport people and goods. Combining long-standing traditions in maritime with the latest technology, the locals keep on delivering innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions. Among them are solutions for smart and green ports, which are believed to be 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.

Take a closer look at what else Finnish maritime professionals have recently been up to.


ARC 130 S is set to become the world’s first methanol-ready icebreaker, moving the industry forward.

Aker Arctic

With winter temperatures which can plummet below minus 30 degrees Celsius, 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. Moreover, March 2024 marked the 100th anniversary of Voima, the first icebreaker designed and built in Finland.

Established in 2005 as a spinoff of Aker Yards (formerly, Wärtsilä Helsinki Shipyard), Aker Arctic takes pride in being a forerunner in ice-breaking 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 in 2022 introduced Aker ARC 130 S, an energy-efficient design that can use various green fuel alternatives. Set to become “the first methanol-ready icebreaker in the world”, the state-of-the-art icebreaker is planned to be delivered in 2026.

“From our research, we concluded that methanol is the most favourable fuel alternative from a technological point of view and provides the longest autonomy time which is crucial in ice-breaking activities,” said Tuomas Romu, chief designer at Aker Arctic. “[The] other evaluated alternatives, such as ammonia and hydrogen, have more challenges for ice-breaking applications.”


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 customer base covering all the major marine segments. Wärtsilä’s solutions make up the broadest offering in the industry and are in high demand in all parts of the globe. In 2022, for example, the company 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. In late 2023, Wärtsilä revealed it has delivered a set of solutions to Adora Magic City, the first ever cruise ship built in China, raising the bar for the local shipbuilding industry. Many of Wärtsilä’s maritime solutions have received professional accolades, including a 2023 Red Dot Award for the NACOS bridge console system.

Decarbonising the shipping industry is at the top of Wärtsilä’s agenda. In addition to rethinking vessel designs to minimise emissions, Wärtsilä leverages its expertise to unite industry players. In December of 2021, 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, vice president of voyage services at Wärtsilä Marine. “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.”


Each Norsepower 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 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 on SEA-CARGO’s roll-on, roll-off cargo vessel SC Connector.

Last year, Norsepower closed a 28-million-euro funding round. The lead investor was Mirova Environment Acceleration Capital from France, with OGCI Climate Investments, the Finnish Climate Fund, the Nordic Environment Finance Corporatio (NEFCO), Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi) and VNT Management also participating in the round. The investors believe that Norsepower’s technology has the potential to support the green transition of the global marine industry.


Built at the Meyer Turku shipyard, Mein Schiff 7 is a testament to modern cruise ship design, prioritising environmental sustainability alongside luxury and comfort.

Meyer Turku

With roots dating back to 1737, Meyer Turku is a seasoned expert in the construction of large cruise ships and passenger ferries. The country’s largest shipyard has a reputation for innovation and quality, often incorporating cutting-edge technology and sustainable practices into its builds.

In late 2023, Meyer Turku announced the float-out of Mein Schiff 7, a methanol-ready cruise ship built for TUI Cruises. For Meyer Turku, the ship is the first with a built-in capability to run on methanol, showcasing the shipbuilding company’s expertise in creating vessels that combine luxury with advanced environmental technologies.

“[Mein Schiff 7] marks a huge leap forward in our pursuit of industry leadership in the green transition,” commented Tim Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

Meyer Turku is also at the helm of NEcOLEAP, an ecosystem project that brings together industry trailblazers to build a climate-neutral cruise ship. The project was launched in 2022 with the help of Business Finland’s funding.

“At Meyer, we have already been working systematically towards environmental friendliness for decades,” said Tapani Pulli, deputy CEO of Meyer Turku. “The NEcOLEAP project is an excellent additional boost towards the green transition and the construction of climate-neutral ships.”


According to One Sea, autonomous vessels are evolving rapidly and will become part of everyday maritime operations in the 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 enable the transition from traditional technologies and operations to more automated and optimised solutions.

Among the alliance’s members are some of the most notable players in the field, including ABB, Avikus, Cargotec, Cosco Shipping Technology, Finnpilot, Fintraffic, Groke Technologies, Kongsberg, Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI), as well as Marine AI and Marautec, which joined earlier this year.

One Sea utilises its members’ expertise in research projects, technological development and policy advocacy. In 2022, 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). 2023 saw the publication of Autonomy in the maritime industry, a position paper which provides an overview of the key topics that address the autonomous ship concept.

“One Sea has provided the maritime and shipping industry with a platform to contribute to the regulatory process for MASS,” said secretary general Sinikka Hartonen. “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.”

By: Zhanna Koiviola