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Image 1In order to ease the search for possible business and co-operation partners in the Central Baltic region, the SmartComp project has established a contact database including the maritime actors of the region from Estonia, Finland and Latvia.

The database acts as a concrete tool for interested parties to find one another and read various publications that help provide a deeper insight on the region’s maritime sector. The database aims to serve as a supporting element to increase triple helix cooperation between the maritime clusters of the Central Baltic region.

The database lists well over a thousand maritime companies operating in the region. The maritime companies have been categorised by their field of business to help the visitors’ search. The database map shows the concentration of maritime company clusters. In addition to companies, the database also presents the main maritime public and third sector actors and education and research institutions operating in the region.

The database is open for users free of charge. Please check it out at: http://thdb.cb-smartcomp.eu/

Final SmartComp report published!

After almost two years, the SmartComp project is coming to an end. The final report, drawing together all the research work, policy and branding work as well as consultation events was published on the 18th of December, 2013.

The report "Conclusions on increasing smart competitiveness in the Central Baltic region" is a summary of the research conducted in the project giving conclusions on the potential for inter-cluster cooperation in the region, branding the clusters in the region as well as some future scenarios. Furthermore, the report provides policy recommendations, managerial recommendations and ideas for future research topics.

Download the Final SmartComp Research Report: Conclusions on increasing smart competitiveness in the Central Baltic region

The third SmartComp Research report, Maritime sector developments in the global markets is now hot off the press!


Image 2The report presents the recent developments and future prospects in the most important maritime clusters around the world, including e.g. Brazil, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and many European clusters. The third research report of the project gives insight on the global developments in the maritime sector and provides new perspectives for visioning the future of the maritime clusters in the Central Baltic region (CBR).

The report although CBR maritime clusters have specialized knowhow in technologies that there is a growing global demand for, there are also other actors providing state-of-the-art expertise in the same fields. These include cleantech solutions, design and engineering services, ship repair and conversion services, offshore expertise, and Arctic expertise. For this reason, the future competitiveness of the CBR actors demands for continuous efforts in R&D as well as marketing.

The report states that the CBR clusters have a lot to learn from competing clusters. For instance, Denmark, Norway and Singapore present interesting examples for CBR clusters to follow when it comes to market developments as well as technological, infrastructural and business-related advancements. These clusters have succeeded with active triple helix cooperation, brave industry networking, and strong investments in implementing ambitious visions.

The complete SmartComp Research Reports can be downloaded free of charge in the Materials section.

The second Finnish SmartComp national consultation day was held in Turku on the 19th of September. Presentations and discussions were based on the current and future competitiveness & innovativeness of the maritime cluster in a national and global perspective.

The seminar day was chaired by Emeritus professor Pentti Häkkinen, starting the day with an overview of the Finnish maritime cluster perspectives. Company cases were presented by CEO Jussi Mälkiä, Meriaura Ltd, Head of Trade Center Kirsi-Maarit Poljatschenko, Finpro Russia, St. Petersburg, Business Director Iiro Lehtinen, Aslemetals Oy, Technical Director Paavo Pitkänen, Vahterus Oy, CEO Hans Langh, Oy Langh Ship Ab and COO Mikko Varjanne, FCR Finland.

Insprired by the successful cases presented during the day, discussion was lively on e.g. leadership assets, marketing strategies, co-operation between companies and educational establishments etc. on the way for global expansion.

The presentations from the seminar are available under Events.

The SmartComp project will culminate on the 26th and 27th of November, when the final SmartComp event will take place in Turku, Finland.

Day1 of the conference acts as the project’s final International Consultation Day, focusing on successful global maritime business company cases. The agenda of Day1 will be published shortly.

In the end of Day1 the City of Turku will host a reception for the participants at the Turku City Hall.

Day2, the official final event, looks at the region’s maritime sector from various perspectives. The keynote speeches will grasp the challenges created by global competition to the maritime industry, shipping and port operations. The second part of Day2 focused on sharing and discussing the project results and achievements.

More information is available on the Events page.

Register to the event.

The 2nd SmartComp policy development roundtable was held in May, 2013 with the topic “The Future of Maritime Clusters in Central Baltic Sea region and Russia”. The subject was topical for the project, as Russia’s growing maritime sector offers both opportunities and challenges for the Central Baltic Region (CBR) maritime clusters. Understanding Russia’s needs in regard to logistical solutions and industrial growth is an important factor in deciding the direction of developments in the future.

The 2nd SmartComp policy briefing paper combines the ideas generated at the roundtable event into some policy recommendations. Read the policy briefing paper in the materials section.

Image 3The second SmartComp Research report, Maritime companies and their business networks in the Central Baltic region is now published. The report provides an analysis on the cooperation relationships and networks of the maritime companies in the Central Baltic region.

The maritime clusters in Estonia, Finland and Latvia are facing similar challenges. The report concludes that tighter cooperation could make the small actors of the region stronger in competition against other maritime clusters in the world. The research is based on case company interviews conducted simultaneously in the three countries.

Common challenges give an opportunity to increase the cooperation between maritime companies in the Central Baltic region. The interviews resulted in a number of suggestions concerning what kind of problematic issues should be tackled and what kind of concrete actions should now be taken. A lot of potential for mutual cooperation lies in joint R&D, repair and maintenance operations, ship conversions, educational cooperation, and EU-level lobbying. To make the whole region a green forerunner, the clusters in the region should rapidly develop the related technical and infrastructural solutions to fit the new environmental regulations. Russia's close presence is an opportunity, and including Russia into cooperation activities is of utmost importance.

Press release about the publication

The complete SmartComp Research Reports can be downloaded free of charge in the Materials section.

The first Finnish consultation day was held in Turku, 27th May 2013. The aim of the seminar was to gather together businesses and other representatives from the Finnish maritime cluster, also from public sector and academia, to discuss how cooperation as part of the future competitiveness of the cluster.

During the seminar, e.g. future scenarios for the maritime cluster were presented. The SmartComp research team gave insight to the upcoming research report by presenting preliminary results from the interviews held for companies. Based on the presentations and the research it became clear that cooperation between businesses can be key for future competiveness.

Among others, presentations were heard by Member of the Parliament Sauli Ahvenjärvi, Head of Unit Esa Lindqvist from the South-Western Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, as well as CEO Mika Laurilehto from Deltamarin.

The seminar was organised in cooperation with the project MaritimeHubs.

The presentations from the seminar are available under Events.

The 2nd SmartComp Policy Development Roundtable was held on 22 May in Forum Marinum in Turku. This time the focus was on how the Central Baltic Sea maritime clusters can cooperate with Russia. The event gathered together over 80 experts from Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Russia and besides presentations, an interesting panel discussion took place.

Yesterday’s SmartComp Policy Development Roundtable attracted attention also in Finnish national news. Project researcher Eini Laaksonen, leader of the SmartComp research team stated that small businesses in the maritime sector must combine their forces to compete against the giant actors in Asia. Maritime clusters in the Central Baltic region have common challenges but also common opportunities such as the growing Russian market and know-how in cleantech, that can be turned into their advantage.

Read the whole story from the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE News (in Finnish).

All material from the event will soon be available in the Events section of this page.


Smart cooperation, not competing is the key to the success for Baltic maritime cluster companies. This was the shared message that speakers brought up in SmartComp Consultation Day that was organised in Tallinn last week. Consultation Day was organised as a part of JCI Estonia’s annual conference Prosperous life around the Baltic Sea. The event attracted about 200 participants from 10 countries, including 50 SmartComp guests from Estonia.

Minister of the Environment Mrs. Keit Pentus-Rosimannus emphasized in her opening speech that Estonian natural environment is a common asset. Construction and development projects involving the sea are frequently missing the full view of the ecosystem. “It is not possible to begin the detailed planning of mainland development without the full general planning of the region. Unfortunately it is not always in this way in marine industry.

Mr. Alari Purju, Professor of Public Sector Economics at Tallinn University of Technology, and Mrs. Silja Lassur, Researcher of Estonian Institute for Future Studies at Tallinn University introduced the Estonian part of SmartComp research findings. The project researchers interviewed the managers of Estonian maritime companies to find out, what kind of strategies the companies have in adjusting to the new challenges they are facing. It was found out that surviving strategies were fast adaptation, internationalisation, specializing and cooperation. The cooperation between marine cluster and the countries in Central Baltic Region is considered to be important in shaping the North-South directed transport corridor related to the RailBaltic.

Mr. Mihkel Kangur, ecologist and director of Institute of Ecology at Tallinn University presented the unique Estonian coastline. Preservation of the coastline is a challenge when planning the coastal areas, but the coastline has a great potential for marine tourism. The smart development of the small ports network would open the long awaited door to West European yacht sailors. “It is hard to see the sea as a friend if it is dangerous to the buildings on the coast. For Estonians the coast has been a bordered zone for too long time. The previous wisdom of how to live together with the sea, so that both parts benefit from it, has been forgotten. We must share the knowledge of how to understand and act wisely in the environment. Only when we see ourselves as a part of the marine ecosystem, we will learn to really love the sea.

Consultation Day was concluded with panel discussion. The moderator was Paul Illimar, Development Manager of Estonian Logistics Cluster. The discussants were Rauno Parras (Estonian Air, Chief Commercial Officer), Juha Kivinen Ruori Oy), Alari Purju and Erik Terk(SmartComp partner from Tallinn University, professor of Estonian Institute for Future Studies). The main topic was sea transportation after the 1st of January 2015 when the new EU sulphur directive comes into effect. The directive can double the shipping expenses. Erik Terk mentioned that the changes in transport and logistics are inevitable. “We can expect that there will be limitations on all transport. Shipping just is the first one that is going to be changed in a huge amount.

It was a very inspiring day that opened new thoughts. I will face the new week with a really good feeling and energy”, said Urmas Treiel, Manager of Väinamere Lines Ltd.

Additional information:

Esta Kaal, SmartComp Communication Expert, esta.kaal@tlu.ee, +372 5122718
Alari Purju, SmartComp Expert of Marine Policy and Business, alari.purju@ttu.ee, +372 5116537

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