The Transport Working Group of the CPMR Baltic Sea Commission gathered in Umeå, in Region Västerbotten, on 13-14 March.  More than a dozen experts and political representatives took part in the meeting which focused on future work related to transport links and interconnections in the Baltic region.

The two-day meeting began at the Kvarken port, outside Umea, on the frozen shore of the Bothnian Gulf. The transnational cooperation between the Swedish city and the Finnish city of Vaasa on the other side of the Bothnian Gulf provides a ferry connection and fosters cargo transport across the bay. In terms of rail transport, the Region Västerbotten has also invested in a cargo terminal with direct access to the Swedish main railway lines.

The working group gathered to develop its plans for strategic orientation until the end of the current budgetary cycle in 2019. The connection of existing corridors with third countries, as well as the accessibility of airports and other sustainable solutions for passengers and freight in the sparsely populated areas of the Baltic Sea Region were discussed.

The CPMR, together with its Geographical Commissions, is currently lobbing to extend the framework of state funding for regional airports. These hubs are extremely important for regions in the periphery, as they guarantee the connection to industrial centers and the center of Europe.

Umeå, as the meeting point of the Transport Working Group, offered the opportunity for further discussion on the extension of the core transport corridors. In spring, the working group will contribute to an overall CPMR position, to be adopted at the CPMR Political Bureau in in June in Stavanger, Norway.

Representatives of member Regions used the meeting to provide updates on the transport plans at home, especially the three transnational projects NSB CoRe, Scandria®2Act and TENTacle.

The next meeting of the Transport Working Group will be held in Berlin, on 15 June. This will be organised in conjunction with the EUSBSR Annual Forum that CPMR Baltic Sea Commission is co-organising.