It seems there’s no limit to Peter Vesterbacka’s ambition. After spending six years as an executive and making Angry Birds game developer Rovio a global star and with several successful start-up conference businesses under his belt, the Finnish entrepreneur has for the last few years set his sights on a lofty goal: to build a 100km rail tunnel linking Helsinki in Finland with Estonian capital Tallinn. The Tunnel Project FINEST Bay.
The fundamentals of the Tunnel Project FINEST Bay, the cost of which is estimated at up to €20bn, seem strong. According to the findings of the cities’ Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel task force, around nine million passengers traveled between the cities by ferry in 2017. This could increase to 23 million by 2050 if the tunnel is built, with 12.5 million annual passengers traveling by tunnel and 10.5 million ferry passengers.
The prospect of replacing weather-dependent two-hour ferry journeys with a 20-minute high-speed rail transfer is certainly one that will generate long-term value for the entire region.
“This tunnel will make Finland and Estonia extremely connected and competitive,” Vesterbacka said.
While a government task force proposed a schedule that would see construction take around 15 years, with the tunnel ready to open by 2040, Vesterbacka has said it can be ready for operation by the end of 2024.
Peter shares his views and experiences with the CEO of GBP INTERNATIOAL Mr Volker Friedrich in an open talk and exchange of opinions.
One of the highlights will be two artificial islands, a larger one 15km off the coast of Finland and a smaller development offshore Estonia, both built using the excavated rock from the tunneling project.
FinEst Bay Area’s project has gained extra credibility due to the floodgates of private financing it has opened. Dubai-based construction firm ARJ Holding invested €100m in the project, and FinEst Bay Area signed a provisional memorandum of understanding with China’s Touchstone Capital Partners to provide €15bn, which would cover the vast majority of the project’s cost.
The investment fits with China’s goals under the Belt and Road initiative, which seeks to connect the country to the Middle East, Europe and Africa by various transport routes. However, the influence of Chinese investors in a strategic asset in one of the core logistic hubs is not only liked by everybody.