Arctic railway could speed Norwegian salmon to China

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Finland is negotiating the building of a Finnish-Norwegian arctic railroad that would, if built to Kirkenes, Norway, offer a rail outlet to Helsinki — and thence to China — for frozen cargoes trucked from north-Norwegian salmon-farms.

The € 3 billion Rovaniemi-Kirkenes rail project would connect Europe’s rail system to Kirkenes Harbour and from there send shipping traffic between Europe and Asia through the Northeast Passage, Norwegian NRK has reported.

Large amounts of salmon are already transported between Norway’s arctic counties through Finland. Some it is consumed in Finland, but far more is sent by plane to Asia (Finnair has daily departures to Asia, especially China). Exports bound for Russia — until 2014, Norway’s largest salmon customer — also traverse Finland.

So, an investment in rail would deeply affect salmon logistics, with freight being moved onto rolling stock in Kirkenes.

“We are jointly marketing the Asia-markets project (with Finland). The Chinese are very occupied by it, and next week we’ll present the railway and harbour development plans to the Chinese Ambassador. For Norway and its northern districts, this is becoming a new situation when it comes to logistics,” the mayor of South Varanger, Rune Rafaelsen, was quoted as saying.