Themes

From traffic corridor to growth corridor
Five Swedes, four Danes and one German took the ICE-train from Copenhagen and the "Birds flight" Scanlines Ferry from Rødbyhavn to Hamburg on the 18th of March. Green STRING Corridor had invited their regional partners and neighboring Region Halland and The Swedish Transport Administration to travel to Hamburg to meet with and the German regions, states and authorities at the Seantkanzlei in Hamburg to talk about how to use the planed infrastructure investments to develop growth in the regions.

Hands-on experience of the corridor
The train trip from Puttgarten across the Fehmarn peninsular through Lübeck rail station and ending in Hamburg Central Station, gave the seminar participants a very tangible tour of the bottlenecks and possibilities of the future fixed link across the Fehmarn belt. After 4 ½ hours from Copenhagen, the seminar kicked off at the office of the Hamburg Senatskanzlei right in the heart of Hamburg. The theme of the seminar was clear: Can we transform a traffic corridor into a growth corridor - can infrastructural development go hand in hand with regional development?

From the German side there was consensus on the bottlenecks regarding the infrastructure in connection with the Fehmarn Belt fixed link: A new Fehmarnsund Bridge and double tracks on the track form Puttgarten to Hamburg were a must. But both Land Schleswig-Holstein and County Ostholstein mentioned there is a need to
think of a new way to transport rail freight from Hamburg to the south of Germany avoiding both to use the already congested railway line via Hamburg - the idea of establishing the missing curve in Bad-Klein and electrification of the freight track that leads freight trains via Schwerin was mentioned as a wanted possibility.

 

Cost of the tunnel fare
All the participants worked in a workshop to identify  ways the upcoming infrastructure investments could contribute and even drive development in the STRING region. One of the questions that all participant agreed on was that the price for crossing of the fixed link. What will the price of the tunnel fare be? As a Swedish participant pointed out, at the moment a weekend trip to Hamburg is more expensive for a Swede living in the Malmö area than a trip to Berlin, London or even Paris.

 

Higher speed trains
A different discussion was on creating a common definition and understanding of high speed trains. There are very different technical and cultural definitions in Germany compared to Denmark and Sweden. A continued discussion from high speed - or more correctly higher speed - trains was: How do we ensure the right balance of fast trains form the metropolitan areas as Malmö/Copenhagen and Lübeck/Hamburg and the regional and local stops? A goal for the more remote regions is for locals to be able to "stay local" and avoid a drain of the regional youth. Everyone agreed that opening ones view and regarding the area between infrastructure planning, transportation planning and regional developmental work was very beneficial.


'Be patient' and a new strategy of being in the middle
If you want to have development with such a large infrastructure investment you have to have a demand for it before you establish it. You have to learn from mistakes of other large infrastructure investments - and establish a demand before the opening. The example of the Öresund region shows that in the first days there was not a high demand to use the newly constructed bridge. Now the picture has changed since markets conditions and prices of housing lead to an increase in exchange of labor over the Öresund. Now the demand has reached a level where new studies of infrastructure projects have been started to  explore the growing demand. Some participants said that therefore we have to 'be patient'; it took 10 years before the Öresund region emerged.

 

Others argued that region Zealand, Land Schleswig-Holstein and County Ostholstein as regions in the 'middle' between the metropolitan regions Hamburg and Copenhagen should use a new strategy that focuses to support the development of the metropolitan regions, because it means an improved access and implementation in the regional market. So, get a piece of the metropolises' cake and share it with the other regions in the 'middle'.  

 

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Open eyes and look across the regional and national borders
To sum up the seminar the Work Package leader asked some of the participants what they will take home from their day together. The participants with the longest traveling time from Sweden answered that he found it inspirational since on a daily bases he only works in the Swedish Transport Administration with infrastructure development for the south of Sweden but that other regions in the STRING corridor actually have similar problems and try to solve them on their own. The participants from Region Halland (this region is located outside the STRING corridor), came along on this journey to be inspired, extend their network and understand what is going on beyond their regional borders. They have a large knowledge about being "in the middle" between two developing regions Region Skåne and Region Västra Götalands län. So they know that you can in fact profit from development that is taking place in neighboring regions, as the growth of Gothenburg harbor also effects business development in Halland.

 

The next seminar in the Green STRING Corridor project will be a seminar on 'Opportunities for increased cooperation in transport and logistics in the STRING region' the 14th of May in Hamburg, and a 'Pre-Fehmarns Days seminar' the 13th of May in Hamburg and in Copenhagen the 27th of May in Copenhagen.

Please contact Work Package leader Sandrina Lohse sloh@regionsjaelland.dk if you like to hear more about the seminars.


Participants:

  • Metropolitan Region of Hamburg
  • Behörde für Wirtschaft, Verker und Innovation Hamburg
  • Ministry of Justice, Cultural and European Affairs Schleswig-Holstein
  • Kreis Ostholstein
  • The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket)
  • Region Halland
  • Region Skåne
  • Region Zealand
  • Capital  Region of Denmark
  • Roskilde  University, Denmark

 

By Anine Asklund and Sandrina Lohse