The environmental requirements of the world's ports have tightened rapidly, cargo volumes have grown, and automation has increased. The United States invests 17 billion dollars in the restoration of ports and waterways. Business Finland is now promoting the export of Finnish companies to seven ports in the market.
Current challenges facing ports in the US include labor shortages, outdated technology and inefficiencies.
– Ports have been assigned target schedules for the green transition and they are quickly investing in low-emission electric hybrid machines and equipment and increasing automation. The USA invests a record 17 billion dollars in government support for the restoration of ports and waterways. This is a historically large investment and tells about the state and need of the industry, says Ulla Lainio, who is responsible for Business Finland's Export Booster project in the USA.
Two years ago, Business Finland launched the Export Booster project aimed at smart ports in the USA. The project offers ports technology for smart, efficient and clean operation. The seven largest seaports in the USA and their terminals (Los Angeles, Long Beach, Houston, Seattle-Tacoma, Savannah and Virginia) have been selected as destinations. Business Finland has organized dozens of business group visits, buyer meetings and promoted the visibility and export of Finnish know-how in the market.
– The North American market plays a key role in our growth strategy. We now have the right services and partner network to serve the market's customers. During 2024, we expect to win several key projects. Business Finland's experts have done a good job in understanding our goals and connecting us with customers in North America, says Visy's Sales and Marketing Director John Lund from Tampere.
The interest in Finnish port technology know-how in the United States and Canada has surprised the company group. According to Lainio, the United States is trying to reduce its dependence on China in port technology. In the geopolitical situation, Finland is perceived as a reliable and safe partner.
– Finnish companies have the technology that ports need when implementing a rapid green transition. Ports are now particularly interested in container handling equipment, cranes, high-speed network technology, information systems, electrification, hydrogen, environmental technology, forecasting, energy efficiency and monitoring. In addition, there is a need for solutions that provide an overall picture of the traffic taking place in the port and fairway area and the situation of ships arriving at the port, Lainio says.
The latest company group visit took place between 14-16th September 2023 to Long Beach and Los Angeles. Business Finland took the companies to meet representatives of the region's ports and port terminal operators. Kalmar, Kempower, Konecranes, Nokia, Treon, Unikie, Visy and Wärtsilä participated.
Business Finland has been a partner to Hervanta-based Unikie Oy in the opening of ports and a maritime cluster in the United States:
– Business Finland has helped us make contacts and organized numerous meetings. Thanks to several visits to the West Coast, we have been able to have further discussions in both the Seattle-Tacoma area and Los Angeles-Long Beach. We have presented Unikie's industry-changing technological solutions to combat climate change. In addition, Business Finland has organized customer meetings on the Eastern coast and large lake areas, says Jussi Mäntynen, General Manager of Unikie.
Exports related to Finland's maritime industry and ports are 9–13 billion euros annually, corresponding to nearly a tenth of the value of all Finnish exports. Sustainability and digitalization are both significant trends in shipbuilding, shipping and ports.
Ulla Lainio, Commercial Counselor, Business Finland USA
ulla.lainio (at) businessfinland.fi
+358 40 343 3357 (notice time difference between Finland and the USA)
Maria Westerholm, Director, Delegations, Business Finland
maria.westerholm (at) businessfinland.fi
+358 40 343 3431
John Lund, Sales and Marketing Director, Visy
john.lund (at) visy.fi
+358 50 477 9504
Jussi Mäntynen, General Manager, Unikie
jussi.mantynen (at) unikie.com
+1 669 207 9954
Maria Arruda, Head of Communications, Business Finland maria.arruda (at) businessfinland.fi
+358 40 093 3913
Business Finland is a Finnish public organization that provides innovation funding and internationalization services. It also promotes Finland as a travel and investment destination. The organization employs 760 advisers at approximately 40 locations world-wide and 16 locations in Finland. Business Finland is part of the Team Finland network.