It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to one of the most important maritime cities in the world.
Helsinki has always had sea in its DNA – Helsinki harbour is as old as the city itself. It is impossible to imagine our corner of the world without connection to the sea. A source of transportation, food, energy and recreation it currently inspires some of the most forward-looking innovations in the world. It seems fitting that the conversations about digitalization, environmental innovations and wide-based collaborations take place in Helsinki. Even more fitting is to connect those conversations with Slush.
Helsinki city strategy underlines that Helsinki’s maritime location is part of its fundamental nature and appearance. So far this dimensions hasn’t been sufficiently utilized as an attraction. We are in the process of approving a maritime strategy that will underline ways to improve the accessibility of maritime areas, develop services and promote seaside events. In a city where the sea has always been important part of the economy we will also find ways to make it a more meaningful place for the citizens and travelers to enjoy. Developing new smart and sustainable services is in a key role.
The Port of Helsinki is Europe’s busiest passenger port. Over 12 million passengers went through the Port in 2017. Based on different estimates either one third – or even half – of the value of goods transported through Finland go through the Port of Helsinki. The Port has a profound impact of many industries in Helsinki – and all over Finland. Our closeness to Tallinn also creates a unique gateway for goods and people.
Even though we might be better known for forest industries and technology, Finland and Helsinki have always been firmly in the forefront of maritime developments. The first icebreaker in the world to run on liquefied natural gas was build in Helsinki at the Hietalahti shipyard. The world’s first test area for autonomous vessels was inaugurated in 2017 in Rauma. Environmental expertise has always also been strong. Reducing carbon dioxide emission is one of the biggest challenges in the future – smart solutions and AI will most likely be part of the solution.
The future of maritime infrastructure will be one of the greatest sustainable solutions the world will need. Inherently global and interconnected as an industry the maritime ecosystem will lead the way in global problem solving. Many traditional industries will follow in your footsteps – some are just waking up to the realities of digitalization and AI.
Helsinki is happy to make the connection between the maritime ecosystem and Slush. Both in the forefront of innovation, both inherently global, both based on a strong sense of community. We are happy to see a continuum to the work of the European Maritime Cluster take shape in Breaking Waves.
It’s my pleasure to welcome you to Helsinki. I hope that you leave here inspired and wiser, with more friends – and only slightly slushed.