Freight Forwarding in Finland
Freight forwarding in Finland is able to benefit from an effective transport infrastructure that consolidates its strategic position as a gateway for international freight to Russia and the Baltic. Finland’s transportation system includes both an efficient rail and road network,used by a great number of freight forwarders and shipping companies. Finland’s own internal system for distributing goods and services is also highly efficient.
Finland has over 50 merchant shipping ports, of which more than 10 are to be found on inland waterways which are connected to the Baltic Sea by the Saimaa Canal. Over twenty seaports are open year round. Fifteen Finnish ports deal with freight forwarding in transit through Finland.
These ports between them can handle a wide range of cargo and no shipping company should encounter amy problem at all regarding their international freight. The 10 biggest ports handle more than 75 percent of all freight transport by sea. The ports near the Russian border (Hamina, Kotka, Hamina and Mustola) tend to focus on international freight such as forestry goods and bulk cargo.
All the ports in Finland are fully automated and totally secure, consistently providing fast and hassle-free loading and unloading operations. So freight services are reliable and cost-effective, making trade with Finland an attractive option for many. It is after all to be expected that Finland would have an excellent transport infrastructure and efficient freight forwarding as Finland is a highly industrialized, mixed economy.
The per capita output in Finland is equal to that of other western economies such as France, Germany, Sweden or the United Kingdom. Although services make up much the largest sector of the economy, manufacturing and refining account for 31.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product. With regards to exports, the key economic sector is manufacturing, which is the lifeblood of the freight services industry in Finland.
Overall, the largest industries are electronics (21.6 percent), machinery, vehicles and other engineered metal products (21.1 percent), forest industry (13.1 percent), and chemicals (10.9 percent). The Greater Helsinki area alone accounts for a third of the total GDP of Finland and as a result freight transport options are high in the Helsinki area, with many a freight company and shipping company having selected this area for their base. In a 2004 OECD comparison, high-technology manufacturing in Finland ranked second highest after Ireland.
Finland also has the 4th largest knowledge economy in Europe, behind Sweden, Denmark and the UK. This is itself a good indicator of the health of the freight forwarding industry as strong knowledge economies tend to stimulate innovation and there is often a correlation with this and vibrant manufacturing industries. Finland is a key player in the global economy.
The country looks outwards to the world and international trade accounts for a third of GDP. In common with other countries in the European Union, trading within the European Union countries dominates its trading position and freight services are therefore especially well developed within Europe. The European Union makes up 60 percent of the total trade.
Most export trade is with Germany, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom, China, USA and the Netherlands. Trade policy is managed by the European Union, where Finland has traditionally been among the free trade supporters, With the exception of agriculture. Finland is in fact the only Nordic country to have joined the Eurozone.
So Finland is well placed to trade both within Europe and further afield and its transport infrastructure and freight services industry are geared up to help it maximise its performance.
Stephen Willis is Managing Director of RW Freight Services a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating worldwide freight forwarding services including specialist freight services to and from Finland
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