Small ports provide improved services in the central Baltic Sea region

In the past years, various projects have worked to improve the safety and infrastructure of small ports. Now experts from Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia have joined their forces to develop better services in the small ports of the central Baltic Sea region.

The view from Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse.

Solar panels are one example of energy efficiency in small ports. Photo from the Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse in Rauma, Finland.

– Nowadays, small ports are increasingly focused on providing good services in a sustainable manner, says project leader Minna Keinänen-Toivola from the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. The CBSmallPorts project aims at supporting the sustainable development of small ports in the Central Baltic region with environment-friendly activities and investments. Enhancing the energy efficiency of the ports – both the energy supply and its use by boaters, as well as other small port users – is the key of all activities. Several small ports have established activities and investments for safety and resource efficiency, but need tools to take a step further in developing the ports and to market the services to the target groups efficiently.

Reaching the small port users

Regardless of the location in the Baltic Sea area, the challenges of the small ports seem to be similar: the short duration of the sailing season with the competition of boaters’ time as well as limited skills and financial resources for port development. Therefore, cooperative actions and comprehensive online platforms bring value to all users and operators in the region.

In addition to actual investments and gadgets necessary in the development of the small ports in the Central Baltic region, a platform for collecting and marketing the services is needed. The aim of CBSmallPorts is to gather all the relevant information into one reachable platform. Instead of different separate web apps, the project will collect the data into a common online platform called “SmallPorts”, combining the information for different audiences, such as boaters, other service users and small port owners. All small ports and their services will also be presented in boat shows in Helsinki, Stockholm and Düsseldorf.

The strength of cross-border cooperation

The CBSmallPorts project has brought together ten organizations and operators from four countries in the Central Baltic area. The partnership consists of universities, municipalities, companies as well as national and regional development centers. The expertise of project partners varies, which is a notable advantage for the project and gives the possibility to approach the challenges of small ports from various angles.

From Finland, the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences is responsible for the lead and communication of the project. Other Finnish partners are the University of Turku, the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences and Airiston Matkailukeskus Ltd. Partners work with energy efficiency, green investments and marketing tasks. Finnish Sailing and Boating Federation is an associated partner.

Investments in Finnish small ports include, for example, installing solar panels and led lighting in Sapokka port in Kotka and Tervasaari port in Hamina, modernizing the power line and transferring the line underground in Keihässalmi port in Pyhtää, renovation of the service building in Seili port and installing new floating bridges and solar panels in Airisto Marina in Parainen.

Central Baltic CB SmallPorts

CB845 CBSmallPorts – Energetic small ports in Central Baltic region – is funded by the Interreg Central Baltic Programme. Within the project, altogether ten partners, led by Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, will work together for energetic small ports in the Baltic Sea region from 1 March 2020 until 30 November 2022. The project website can be found at

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