Saimaa, Finland

Smart fairway in Saimaa contributes to safer shipping

Thanks to EMMA Extension’s Finnish pilot project, shipping will become safer in Saimaa on the section between North Karelia and South Savo.

In August, the workers of Meritaito anchored the last smart buoys in Haponlahti, Saimaa.

“The initial EMMA project brought visibility for inland waterway transport. With this EMMA Extension project, we were able to develop the fairway in practice”, said Jukka Hasu, Project Manager of EMMA Extension project in Regional Council of North Karelia.

The buoys produced at Meritaito's factory in Joensuu look quite ordinary, but the technology inside them makes shipping safer and maintaining of fairway easier.

“The maintainer of the fairway receives information on the location of the buoys, which reduces the risk of an accident if ice or log bundles move the signs. In addition, the buoys communicate with each other, making it easier for ship pilots and captains to observe the fairway. Their lights are adjusted according to the lighting conditions, so they would not distract other traffic. And you never know - maybe these buoys will function as 5G base stations in future”, Hasu says.

According to Hasu, this was the right time to include intelligent features into the buoys, because the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is renewing the buoys on the narrow deep fairway section from Haponlahti to Vuokala. The price tag for the smart technology and license is 55,000 euros, which is paid through the EMMA Extension project. As an EMMA Extension project partner, Regional Council of North Karelia is responsible for the project in Finland in cooperation with associated organizations, Meritaito Ltd and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.

Jukka Hasu states that the when fairways are developed, attention must be kept in the bottlenecks instead of borders of the regions.

“The buoys are located on South Savo, but they serve traffic to Puhos, Joensuu and Pielinen”, Hasu explains.

Freight transport via waterways has decreased, but climate measures, for example, may change this direction.

“Shipping is efficient for transporting large bulk consignments. Over the decades, a large amount of money has been invested in this mode of transport, so it would be pretty crazy if it wasn’t developed further”, Hasu says.

The EMMA associated partner Meritaito Ltd also has its own project underway, which explores the possibilities for using intelligent signs. Sales Manager, expert Kari Pohjola says that the “intellectualisation” of fairways has only just begun, but positive feedback has already been received on the measures taken in the sea areas.

“For example, changing the lighting power of signs brings a whole new element to the development of fairways. The pilot can adjust the light output and rhythm of the signs to support the navigation of ships in the dark, fog and storm. When the ship arrives, the lighting can be enhanced.”

The Lead partner of the EMMA Extension project is Port of Hamburg Marketing (HHM) from Germany. The project includes altogether seven partners from Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden.

“This way we are able to demonstrate Finland's special expertise in Central Europe”, Jukka Hasu says.

Press contact: 

Jukka Hasu
Project Manager

Regional Council of North Carelia
+358 50 3222 627