SmartComp Newsletter September 2013

SmartComp National Consultation Days give opportunities for local networking

Photo: Shutterstock/TranceDrumer
Photo: Shutterstock/TranceDrumer

Beside the international activities, SmartComp arranges consultation days for companies at the national level. These events provide an opportunity for companies to network locally, brainstorm new and innovative ideas and find partners for cooperation. National perspective makes it possible to focus on the themes that are the most relevant ones in each country, not forgetting the global perspective. The first national consultation days were arranged in the spring. Cooperation, one of the main themes of the project, was a focus in all the events.

Estonian day attracted audience from various sectors and countries
University of Tallinn organised the Estonian day as a part of the JCI Baltic Conference together with Junior Chamber International Estonia. The event attracted Estonian maritime industry representatives, but there were also participants from other business sector and other countries. Expert presentations gave an insight into the cooperation possibilities between companies, cities and universities in the maritime sector and described the strategies that Estonian marine sector companies have utilised when adjusting to new challenges. In the panel discussion debaters from shipping and aviation sectors discussed an interesting theme “Planes versus ships - competitors or partners”. The event received a lot of positive feedback. ”It was a very inspiring day that opened new thoughts. I will face the new week with a really good feeling and energy”, told manager Urmas Treiel from Väinamere Lines Ltd.

The Estonian Consultation Day. Photo: Tallinn University
The Estonian Consultation Day. Photo: Tallinn University
Latvian day focused on competitiveness aspects
Latvian Maritime Academy was responsible for arranging the Latvian day. The first session of the event focused on the competitiveness of the Latvian maritime cluster. The session had a triple helix approach and the speakers came from governmental, educational and the third sector as well as from companies. The theme of the second session was international experience for Latvian maritime cluster competitiveness and expert speakers came both from Latvia and abroad. The event concluded with a panel discussion about the factors affecting the Latvian maritime cluster competitiveness.

Finnish day considered the different forms of cooperation
The Finnish national consultation day was organised by the Centre for Maritime Studies in cooperation with another maritime project, MariTime Hubs. The leading themes of the event were cooperation and future scenarios of the Finnish maritime industry. An expert from the group evaluating the competence of the Finnish maritime industry gave a presentation and a company representative told about the companies’ prospects. A member of the parliament of Finland told about the actions that the public sector takes to promote cooperation between all triple helix actors. Finally, the participants grouped for a workshop to consider the assets of the Finnish maritime industry, to map what kind of methods for cooperation already exist and how the cooperation in the Central Baltic region could be utilised to promote the competitiveness of the Finnish companies.

The next national consultation days will be organised in September in Finland and Latvia. The Estonian day will follow in October. The final international consultation day will be organised in November in Turku, Finland. Read more about the upcoming events.

SmartComp Triple Helix Database under construction, join in now!

One of the outputs of the SmartComp project will be the Triple Helix Database, a concrete tool for all actors working in the maritime field. The database will include contact details of substantive Central Baltic maritime cluster companies, public and third sector actors, universities and research institutions – all gathered under the same internet address! It will also include information about related research and other publications. The database will serve as a supporting element to increase cooperation between the maritime clusters of Estonia, Finland and Latvia. The database will be available for the public free of charge during this autumn.

Make sure that your organisation is included
The construction of the database is now under way. Please send the following information to project coordinator Annika Forbes-Sarantsin ( to make sure that you are included in the database.

  • Official name of the company, organisation, project or publication
  • Link to webpage
  • Postal address

The user can search for contacts from the database by selecting different fields of business, so please specify to which category you belong:

SmartComp database will open during autumn 2013. Photo: Shutterstock/Vladru
SmartComp database will open during autumn 2013. Photo: Shutterstock/Vladru

  • Maritime company
    • Maritime Industry
    • Shipping
    • Port Operations
  • Associated field
    • Finance
    • Insurance
  • Public and third sector
    • Local and regional authorities
    • National authorities
    • Unions / Associations
  • Universities and research institutions
  • Projects
  • Publications

The more complete the database is the better it serves everyone.

Central Baltic maritime cluster could increase the region’s competitiveness

The SmartComp research team has so far analysed the current state and future of the maritime clusters in the Central Baltic region (CBR) from national and company-level perspectives and identified challenges and opportunities these clusters are facing. The maritime clusters seem to share similar challenges, which gives an opportunity to increase international cooperation between the maritime companies. The rising cost levels threaten the profitability of the maritime industry and the global competition is constantly tightening. Therefore, there is a continuous need for R&D and product development in order to provide competitive offerings. At the same time, the lack of qualified workforce has also been brought up particularly concerning the Estonian and Latvian clusters. The sulphur directive is seen as the major challenge for the competitiveness of the shipping companies, and ports are facing tightening competition due to the development of the Port of Ust-Luga.

Russia and green technologies are common opportunities

The 2nd research report focused on cooperation. Photo: Shutterstock/qingqing
The 2nd research report focused on cooperation. Photo: Shutterstock/qingqing
The research has resulted in a number of suggestions on what kind of concrete actions should now be taken. There is a lot of potential for mutual cooperation in terms of joint R&D, repair and maintenance operations, ship conversions, educational cooperation and EU-level lobbying. Furthermore, it is challenging for smaller European companies to compete with the huge Asian players without a joint, efficient innovation and value network. Because of the new environmental regulations, the clusters in the region must rapidly develop the related technical and infrastructural solutions, which can make the whole region a green forerunner. The presence of Russia’s developing maritime cluster in the neighbourhood is an opportunity, and including Russia into cooperation activities is of utmost importance.

Concrete policy and vision are needed
Regarding the business and cooperation networks between the maritime clusters, various connections do exist but the clusters today do not constitute a particular unity or an international cluster. International political cooperation is needed in order to form a concrete policy and vision. Creating a multinational pool of complementary resources and expertise, both in terms of logistics and shipbuilding, could turn out to be a trigger for increased competitiveness for the region’s maritime clusters.

The next phase of the project takes the research to the global level – to studying other significant maritime clusters such as Brazil, China, and South Korea. The aim is to provide information on the structures, competitiveness and business networks in these market areas while mirroring the current and potential role of the CBR maritime actors in their future development. As a result, the third research report will provide new insights on these overseas maritime hubs and recommendations on how CBR maritime clusters should act policy- and business-wise in order to gain and maintain a forerunner role in the global maritime sector. The report is to be published at the end of October and can be found together with the previous publications at the Materials section.