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NDI POLICY BRIEF 3: Ensuring the Sustainability of Euro-Asian Transport Connections

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Northern Dimension Institute Policy Brief 3 – February 2019

Ensuring the Sustainability of Euro-Asian Transport Connections

Growth in Euro-Asian trade and rising interest in the Arctic call for coordinated policies

Trade volumes between EU and Asia, particularly China, are constantly growing, which challenges the capacity of existing Euro-Asian land and maritime connections. Together with trends in global logistics, such as increasing interest in multimodal solutions, this creates a need to improve existing transportation infrastructure, and opens up opportunities for the development of new routes.

The increase in EU-Asia trade volumes affects countries located along Northern and Southern routes alike, but specific feature of the ND area is its proximity to the Arctic with its fragile ecosystem. The rising international interest in the natural resources of the Arctic together with its improving accessibility due to changing climate conditions are expected to increase traffic in this area. This surges the need for policies that ensure the social, economic and environmental sustainability of transportation infrastructure in the ND area. Future transportation solutions need to be developed in a manner that are cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly.

The complexity of the Europe-Asia transportation architecture implies that policy-making in the ND area needs to take into account the interests of national, regional, EU-level and external parties.  For example, many of the planned transport and logistics investments to the ND area are linked to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Aligning of sometimes competing interests of different players is not an easy task. Yet, risks associated with increasing transportation volumes are shared, which serves a motivation to jointly develop solutions that help improving the safety and sustainability of Euro-Asian transport connections.

The Policy Brief based on the ND Future Forum on Transport* is now available. You can download the policy brief here: Ensuring the Sustainability of Euro-Asian Transport Connections (pdf).

NDI Policy Brief Ensuring the Sustainability of Euro Asian Transport Connections


Dr. Elena Rovenskaya, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dr. Päivi Karhunen & Prof. Riitta Kosonen & Piia Heliste, CEMAT & Northern Dimension Institute

*The Northern Dimension Institute (NDI) organized the Northern Dimension Future Forum on Transport: Emerging trade routes between Europe and Asia – Impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on Northern Europe on 20 November 2018 in Brussels. It brought together top researchers, decision-makers and leading transport companies to discuss the future developments in land and Arctic maritime connections between Europe and Asia. The event featured two knowledge arenas consisting of expert and practitioner interventions followed by decision maker comments and a moderated discussion.