On 17 January, the City of Turku and a group of marine industry companies operating in the Turku region got the chance to host the visit of 14 international journalists. The expertise and network-like cooperation of the Turku region left a decidedly positive impression on the European and North American guests.

The growth of the region's marine and manufacturing industries has increased international interest in the expertise found in the Turku region. The most recent example of this interest came just this week, as Turku was visited by fourteen international journalists specialising in the marine industry as part of a three-day visit to Finland. Arriving on Monday evening, the group spent one day in Turku, during which the journalists were provided a comprehensive look into the maritime expertise of the Turku region and Southwest Finland.

The visit kicked off with presentations by representatives of the Port of Turku and Turku Science Park Ltd, focusing on the marine industry of Turku, its recent developments and its future prospects. These were followed by visits to Rolls-Royce Marine's research and development unit in Turku, the facilities of Turku Repair Yard Ltd and the Meyer Turku shipyard, which provided additional perspectives on the region's top expertise.

During the visit, the journalists displayed particular interest in environmental questions and the Ship Recycling project funded by Tekes, as well as the future possibilities in maritime transport opened up by new technologies.
Autonomous seafaring is the future

At the end of the day, Danish journalist Martin Uhlenfeldt mentioned that the visit to Rolls-Royce had been particularly memorable.

– Finns are among the world's foremost pioneers when it comes to maritime expertise. Rolls-Royce is a good example of the development work related to autonomous, unmanned vessels currently being conducted in Finland. This is a topic that I will definitely be writing about, said Uhlenfeldt, editor of Maritime Danmark magazine.

Uhlenfeldt was also impressed by the plans being prepared by Turku Repair Yard Ltd and its partners for creating a ship recycling industry in Finland.

– Denmark-based Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, is looking into how the recycling of old ships could be carried out in an environmentally friendly manner. The research and development being conducted in Turku may provide an ecologically sustainable model for it.

Felix Selzer from Germany and Martin Uhlenfeldt from Denmark were among the international group of 14 journalists that spent a day learning about the maritime expertise of the Turku region.

Open cooperation networks raised considerable interest

Felix Selzer, one of the journalists of the German Hansa International Maritime Journal, was also fascinated by the possibilities opened up by new technologies. However, he was also impressed by the way in which industry actors in Turku and Finland cooperate with each other, and highlighted the importance of intermediary organisations, such as Turku Science Park Ltd, in building expertise clusters.

– The clusters here have managed to effectively combine the strengths of different actors, and the cooperation with companies, universities and research organisations, for example, is very open. In Germany the competition is far fiercer, with actors guarding their own expertise. On the international level cooperation is crucial, however.

– I've been to Finland twice before. Next time it would be interesting to see how the promotion of the ship recycling industry and the development of autonomous vessels has progressed, ponders Selzer, who has been working for the Hamburg-based publication for two years.