Kouvola RRT is ’GO’ – construction is advancing with EU funding on the way!

Rail Road Terminal project Kouvola RRT is going forward. The construction effort in Kouvola’s Kullasvaara area kicked off in January 2019 and in April came the much-awaited news from the EU: the RRT project will receive funding for EUR 7.9 million.

Looking ahead into the 2020’s, Kouvola RRT is poised to be one of the most significant spearhead projects in Southeast Finland – and beyond. Kullasvaara will feature an intermodal terminal area, loading rails for extra-long container trains as well as local road/street infrastructure. This means that a fully competitive logistics corridor between North Europe and Asia will be created for international container traffic.

The now-secured EU funding targets the implementation costs of the project. Previously the project received EU funding for the planning phase of the undertaking.

The total cost estimate of the implementation phase of Kouvola RRT stands at EUR 39.3 million, of which the City of Kouvola is set to cover 33.8 million and the State of Finland 5.5 million. The State funds will cover the construction of the two long loading rails of the RRT area; the City is charged with the building of the terminal field.      

 

Full 20 % Support from EU

It is noteworthy that the Kouvola RRT project receives the 20 % funding of the total project implementation costs which is the maximum share, percentage-wise, available for old Member States in this case.  

However, the construction efforts at Kullasvaara were well under way even before the funding decision. In January 2019, a large ground construction effort commenced, with a cost estimate around EUR 7 million. A major part of this construction is the excavation of a large rock, located in the intermodal area, which will then yield as much as one million cubic metres of excess rock that will be used in the construction of the container field as well as the neighbouring logistics plots. This move will, naturally, significantly diminish the need to bring materials from elsewhere – thus pushing down the costs.    

In addition, those places at the terminal area which feature softer soil, now feature weights designed to improve the cohesion of the ground. These softer spots will take a couple of years to gain sufficient integrity for construction.  

 

Planning & Execution Go Hand in Hand

As the building effort goes on, also planning – which keeps diving deeper into the details – is being conducted alongside construction. The idea is to achieve total technical/economical optimization which results in significant cost savings especially in the utilisation of the area’s own land masses and excavated rock materials.      

The intermodal terminal and the neighbouring logistics blocks of the RRT 2 area will be launched in 2022. The City has acquired and will continue to acquire land from the area and the zoning effort continues in phases: for instance, an area of nine hectares has been reserved for each of the two new logistics blocks of the RRT 2 zoning plan. 

Kouvola Innovation’s role here is to push the functions-based planning of the terminal onwards together with the City. Tight collaboration will allow us to concentrate on the big picture and put together the best possible total package. Also, the academic world is involved in the undertaking: already three thesis projects (university of applied sciences level) on this topic have been launched, under the guidance of Kinno.      

 

Core Connectivity 

One important partner for Kouvola RRT is the local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre). Together with the Centre, plans have been drawn up to build a street running parallel to Highway 6 (on its southern side), from Tykkimäki area to Häkämäentie street. This means, in practice, that Karjalankatu street will be continued by a couple of kilometres towards east – creating an east-west core connection for the area.     

Kouvola is already the number one hub for rail logistics in Finland and very attractive in the eyes of the industry players. The RRT kick-off elevates Kouvola into the premier ranks of the international logistics centres, especially in the EU-Asia connections.