Since 2014 the Bothnian Corridor at both sides of the Bothnian Gulf is included in the TEN-T Core Network, and in the CEF Annex I.3 Other Sections on the Core Network, because of its importance for the industry in northern Sweden and Finland and for the rest of Europe.
There are continuous developments of the Bothnian Corridor, for all modes of transports, and there have been a number of TEN-T and CEF funded studies and investments, e.g. for railway planning and investments in ERTMS at several of the lines. In addition, there have been numerous planning, development and investments projects of with co-funding from European Regional Development Fund and Interreg programmes. Some of these projects have included collaboration with Norway and Finland and other EU member states.
THE MULTIMODAL DIMENSION OF THE BOTHNIAN CORRIDOR
Even though the core backbone of the Bothnian Corridor is the railway infrastructure the multimodality and linkage between different modes of transport is extremely important, which is illustrated with a few examples:
In some areas raw material from forests and mines have to be transported by trucks to a rail-road terminal, to a port or to an industry, because of the absence of railways and that the transports start in remote forestry or mining areas.
In some cases, truck transports even of heavy goods at longer distances is chosen because the intermodal infrastructure is not sufficient, too expensive or time consuming to use. This is the case at the border-crossing in Haparanda and Torneå where investments are needed for handling the difference between track gauges.
The ports in the Bothnian Gulf are all extremely important for large amounts of outbound and inbound cargo that is more efficiently and environmentally friendly transported by sea. For the many wood, paper and pulp industries it is common practice to use a combination of rail and sea transport for the export products.
The ports are all but Luleå comprehensive ports with volumes between 1-3 Million tonnes per year. They are all important especially for the out-shipping of export goods from the industries and for avoiding congestion at the single-track railways in the northernmost part of the Bothnian Corridor. The ports should therefore be considered as an integrated essential part of the Bothnian extension of the Scand-Med Corridor.
The ferry connection between the ports of Umeå and Vaasa is of essential importance for the Bothnian extension since this will be an interconnection between the Scand- Med CNC and the North Sea-Baltic CNC. The cargo volumes are increasing at this route and are expected to increase further with a new LNG ferry in 2021.
There is a modal imbalance in the Bothnian corridor in the north-south direction in the sense that train and sea transports are used for the heavy cargo produced in the region, while for the consumption goods mostly trucks are used. This results in a situation where train sets and ships are not fully utilised in the north-bound direction and trucks are empty or half empty in the southbound direction. This situation is seriously affecting both the cost-efficiency and the environmental impact of the transports in the corridor.