The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications and Norwegian transport authorities have identified a prospective railway route to the Arctic Ocean through Oulu and Rovaniemi in Finland, to Kirkenes in Norway.

Authorities believe that the routing would improve logistical position, accessibility and supply security of Finland, and intend to explore it further.

The route was decided based on a study commissioned in July last year to evaluate five different routing alternatives, including Tornio-Narvik, Kolari-Narvik, Kolari-Tromsø, Rovaniemi-Kirkenes, and Kemijärvi-Alakurtti-Murmansk.

From the two alternatives selected, the routing through Kirkenes was also found to be less expensive.

“The connection would improve the conditions for many industries in northern areas.”

Finland Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner said: “The Arctic railway is an important European project that would create a closer link between the northern, Arctic Europe and continental Europe. The connection would improve the conditions for many industries in northern areas.”

It is estimated that the Rovaniemi-Kirkenes routing will cost around €2.8bn, with Finland set to invest €2bn, while the remaining would be funded by Norway.

The countries are planning to appoint a joint working group for the further study of this routing, including environmental aspects, costs, finance structure and model, and permit procedures by 31 December 2018.

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With an expected overall cost of €7.4bn, the Arctic railway line will offer an alternative route for Finland’s imports and exports.

The Arctic Ocean’s deepwater ports are additionally anticipated to facilitate new links to the Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Passage.