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Accessibility in the Baltic Sea Region

Research papers on accessibility finalized. One example of the outcomes: Customs processing and waiting times are among the biggest obstacles in cross-border transport in the south-eastern Baltic Sea Region. They prolong transport time, increase costs and negatively affect schedule compliance.

The project partners of Amber Coast Logistics have produced five transnational research papers, each focusing on a specific dimension of accessibility: physical, political, commercial, technology and organisational. These papers describe and analyse these dimensions, and how they each influence the seamless transport of goods in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR).
All five papers define accessibility as "the ability to reach desired services, activities and destinations". From a transport perspective accessibility is therefore seen as the locational advantage of one destination compared to others.

The BSR not only faces a number of obvious physical-geographical issues but also suffers from an unbalanced transport system. In the eastern part of the region two of the main features are a lack of good transport links and the domestic-oriented nature of transport decisions and policies in those countries. Poor accessibility is one of the consequences. At a political and administrative level, there is evidence that bureaucracy and integrity issues are particularly influential factors, though there are significant differences within the region. Whereas the EU Member-States, and especially Denmark and Germany, are highly accessible, Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine present a less positive picture in political and administrative terms. The political problems include corruption and democratic deficits whereas the main administrative handicaps are congestion with long waiting times at border crossings and bureaucratic bottlenecks in customs clearance.

The lack of capacity, particularly at borders to non-EU countries, and the general backlog in investment in the infrastructure and operation of border crossings are seen by many companies involved in BSR trade as one of the biggest hurdles to the region's economic development. Such administrative and fiscal challenges could be solved by the increased use of information and communications (ICT) technology to monitor cargo movements and process documents, as well as the establishment of new border crossings, infrastructural modernisation of existing ones and harmonisation of import/export regulations and border control procedures.


The complete accessibility papers are available on www.ambercoastlogistics.eu/results


published 22.08.2013