The first DigiLog 2023 seminar was organized in Helsinki 19.1.2023. The seminar took place in the traditional birthplace of visions – the Botta ballroom, which offered a very nice atmosphere and good facilities for such an event. For some people Botta also reminds of their past dancing and disco evenings. The DigiLog 2023 was hosted by CaaS Nordic and ITS Finland associations with support of authority organization Fintraffic and two more logistics associations – LIMOWA, and LOGY.

Check the event recoding to relive the vibrant discussions and presentations

The seminar brought together authorities and companies from several countries, who share the same interest: intensifying our shared logistics system to meet all sustainability targets with the use of enabling digital services. To give food for thought the organizers gathered for the audience a heavy package of excellent speakers with hot and very current topics. For all presentations the red thread was digitalisation, sustainability and the changed operational environment in North-East logistics. The agenda of the seminar is shown below.

The master of ceremony from the Ministry of Transport and Communications was Noora Lähde, who really knows the topics of the seminar theme by heart, since she is the key author behind Finnish Logistics Digitalization Decision in Principle. Before actual presentations both host associations gave welcome words and motivation speeches for the seminar. On behalf of CaaS Nordic it was given by Jarkko Rantala and Marko Forsblom presented ITS Finland wishes to the participants of the seminar.

Three keynote speakers opened the presentations and they pointed out the need for digitalization and sustainable solutions from different points of views. Niko Korte from SSAB highlighted that it is the actual business needs that are required for any logistics change to happen. He also explained how SSAB has managed to improve the transparency and accuracy of their supply chains to different stakeholders in close collaboration with their logistics service providers. 

The second keynote speaker Tomi Solakivi from the University of Turku pointed out the big picture of the logistics landscape and how huge change we have faced during the last few years. His figures and charts showed that the last 20 years have been quite steady in  logistics, but now the last two years have really shaken our logistics systems. He even raised the question that will we face the 2008 and 2009 type of demand decrease again or will it be even worse.

Third keynote speaker Ulla Tapaninen from the Tallinn University of Technology focused on maritime transportation between Finland and Estonia. She emphasized that the growth in terms of monetary value comes from services at the moment. Ulla also highlighted that the green transition will be a huge change for the logistics sector and especially for the maritime sector. 

After the keynote presentations the floor was given to Estonian and Finnish authorities. Maria Rautavirta from the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications explained Finnish interest and vision regarding digitalisation and data sharing. Maria also revealed that Finland has set an ambitious plan that Finland will be leading on EU level in data sharing and EU data spaces. After Maria, Eva Killar (picture below) from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia described the Estonian real time economy project and how it is linked to digitalization of logistics. In this context, one of the core building blocks is eCMR i.e digital freight document for road transport, which boosts the digitization of supply chains. Eva also announced that representatives of nine EU member states and four observing member states along with private beneficiaries had just submitted a major application for CEF 2 eFTI call and this project will be coordinated by Estonia.

Third authority presentation was given by Janne Lautanala from Fintraffic. Janne highlighted the new role and vision of Fintraffic in logistics. He also revealed the plan how Fintraffic will approach this vision and what the main focus areas are in the near future: CO2 emissions, NEMO/EMSW and eFTI. Janne from Fintraffic also explained their planned offering for the industry clustering, new data and data services,industry expertise and in some cases even funding.

Industry outlook was started by Karno Tenovuo the CEO of Awake.Ai, who presented their sophisticated vessel traffic monitoring system, which helps maritime industry actors to manage their vessel traffic and even multimodal supply chains. After Karno, Riku Huhta from Destia presented main outcomes from the study made for The National Emergency Supply Agency of Finland. The recent study focused on transportation flows to Finland, from Finland and inside Finland. As an outcome of the study Riku pointed out that in terms of supply chains Finland is now suffering as a border line country, but in many cases industry actors have been able to find new alternatives for their freight and supply flows. However, there are still many challenges in front of us and the logistics sector needs to be able to adapt itself during this transition.

After the break the industry outlook was continued with Andres Uusoja from HHLA. Andres catched audience’s attention by vividly explaining what the current situation is at the North Sea Baltic corridor market and particularly in the port of Muuga, where HHLA is operating. Anders also emphasized that even if we need long term development, the business actors are seeking solutions for shorter term. He said that the Amber train of the Baltic corridor is one of these interesting short term solution opportunities. Hannu Hernesniemi from Fennorail in his presentation continued this dialogue by presenting their new initiative to build and operate a rail ferry. With such a solution there could be interesting new offerings for rail freight. Tomi Dahlberg from DBE Core presented the new digital wallet solution and how that can be used for trusted data exchange. Tomi also showed an interesting example from the eDelivery CEF project, where Peppol was used for digital supply chains. Industry outlook was ended with the presentation by Ulrika Hurt, who presented Estonien eFTI preparations and eCMR development. Ulrika’s presentation clarified how proactive and determined Estonia has been in this approach and how it is now paying dividends.

The official seminar was ended with the Q&A for the audience and the panel discussion, where Toni Penttinen (Ahola Transport), Eva Killar (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia), Niko Korte (SSAB), Andres Uusoja (HHLA), Sami Rakshit (Finnish Customs) and Teemu Heikura (Fintraffic) discussed about the current challenges and hot digitalisation topics. Matti Lankinen from Vediafi/CaaS Nordic joined to moderate panel together with Noora. 

Some of the key takes from the discussions were that maybe only half of the companies are engaged in eFTI by 2030 and it needs a lot of work to engage SME companies in digitalization. It was also pointed out that the money that is used for these digitalization development actions is very small and there should be much more allocated if we want to achieve targets and make the change. The panel discussions also came back to that issue that we are now facing a very big transition and many operational models will be reshaped. Niko Korte highlighted that we need to focus on natural coalitions and trusted partners and with them we need to start to make transitions together. Sami Rakshit wanted to remind that while the business sector is facing the change it also affects the authorities and Sami emphasized that Finnish Customs has done a lot of work to change its operation models from passive to active regulator and co-developer.  Teemu Heikura pointed out the need for a neutral champion with commitment to long term digitalization of logistics data sharing – such as Fintraffic.

After the official part it was time for the all important networking along with a glass of vine and snacks. And once again the power of physical events was pointed out, while the discussions between participants continued well into the evening. Many new ideas were shared and new collaboration initiatives were agreed and indeed encouragement for repeating Digilog seminar was stated.

Great thanks to all speakers and participants on behalf of CaaS Nordic and ITS Finland. Big thanks also to our support partners LIMOWA, LOGY and Fintraffic.

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