Gathering of green growth enthusiasts
Nearly 60 participants from Sweden, Denmark and Germany - from universities to privately held companies and business development organisations gathered in Lübeck for Green STRING Corridor’s Kick-Off Conference. The aim of the project is ambitious, but important. Transport in and between the Öresund and Hamburg Regions must be sustainable and efficient.

Copenhagen Airport's future with the Fehmarn fixed link


The Green STRING Corridor Kick-off conference was very pleased to present a guest speaker, Henrik Jørgensen, VP External Relations, Copenhagen Airport. His topic was air traffic and Copenhagen Airport's future in the light of the fixed link across the Fehmarn Belt.


It's all about routes and accessibility, Henrik Jørgensen explained:


"Copenhagen's success as an airport is because we operate as a hub. Hamburg is not a big competitor in our view, neither is Oslo or Stockholm. More likely as a competitor is Berlin or Helsinki - Helsinki serves as a hub for routes to Asia."


Green STRING kick-pff HJ


Henrik Jørgensen, VP External Relations, Copenhagen Airport


According to the VP External Relations, success as an airport is all about being a hub for a large "catchment" area (the amount of people who can reach your airport within 2 hours  - ed.) and having the right routes. For instance: Hamburg has a much larger "catchment" - around 10 million people: Copenhagen only has 4 million. But Copenhagen offers many long distance routes to Asia, the Far East,China and even North America. In fact, a quarter of all travellers from Copenhagen are from Germany already, another quarter comes from the rest of Scandinavia.


The lesson from the Öresund Bridge is that Copenhagen Airport is now the primary airport for 40% of the Swedish population.


So what are the chances that the Fehmern Belt Tunnel will have the same effect? Henrik Jørgensen answered his own question:


"I'm ambitious. I say yes, the tunnel will bring similar effects. Before the Öresund Bridge everybody was very worried, but the outcome has been so much more positive with an increase of Swedish passengers. But two words of warning: Firstly, we will need the rest of the infrastructure to follow suit - I'm thinking high speed rail connecting the airport to Scandinavia and Europe. Secondly, everybody else is moving rapidly while we speak. Stand still and you will loose!"


Green STRING Abbaz


Pontus Lindberg of Region Scania discussing with Razvi Abbas of Capital Region Denmark.


To the question whether the new airport in Berlin will gain travellers from Copenhagen Airport, Henrik Jørgensen answered:


"Building a magnificent airport does not make it a hub. Much of their traffic is point-to-point. Many people want to travel to Berlin just for visiting Berlin. I don't see Lufthansa going to Berlin to make a hub."


The example of Brussels Airport stresses the importance of being part of large airlines hub-and-spoke system. When the former national Belgian airline Sabena went out of business, Brussels Airport lost its position as a hub, especially for routes to Africa. Today the airport depends primarily on the traffic to and fromBrussels in relation to the activities connected to the European Commission and Parliament. 


Another interesting question the representative from Copenhagen Airport received was: What if Lufthansa buys SAS?


"Copenhagen airports' marriage to SAS is not always easy, he put diplomatically. SAS is challenged by high costs. If SAS were to be merged with, say Lufthansa, I think they would keep the SAS brand intact. It's a strong brand. That is our belief, anyway."


Experts in intermodal freight trains: TX Logistics


Another guest speaker, Thomas Andersson, Managing Director of the railway company TX Logistics AB in Sweden, presented the potentials offered by the coming Fixed Fehmarn Belt Link for increased rail freight transport in the future. Today TX Logistics operates a number of intermodal freight trains (containers and trailers) between Sweden and the European Continent via the fixed links across Öresund and the Great Belt.



 Thomas Andersson, Managing Director of TX Logistics, Sweden


When the fixed link across the Fehmarn Belt opens in 2021, Thomas Andersson pointed out, that his company expects to shorten its current lead time from Copenhagen  toHamburg to approximately 2 hours. This will increase the efficiency of the train operations and reduce the need for locomotives and wagons compared with today's operations. A vital aspect for a railway company like TX Logistics will be the increased capacity on the rail network linking Öresund and Hamburg: The Fehmarn Link will supplement the existing route via the Great Belt and Jutland.


There are still important issues to be solved in time


If the coming fixed link across Fehmarn Belt is to be a driver for increased railway freight transport in the Öresund -Hamburgcorridor, Thomas Andersson pointed to several challenges that need attention:


"We need a German commitment to investments in upgrading the railway infrastructure to the same high standards as on the Danish side when the fixed link opens in2021 inorder to capitalise the potential benefits for the railway."


"Also, the development of a harmonised signalling system in the transport corridor across different national territories will be of great importance."


The costs of making the new investments in the so called ERTMS signalling system is an issue, not only for the national infrastructure authorities, but also for the private railway companies, that have to invest in on-board signalling equipment.


By Anine Asklund