Case Description – New Models for Regional Competitiveness and Collaboration

Kotka is the second largest city in Kymenlaakso County. It is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland, at the estuary of Kymi river. Kotka is known by its port, industry and maritime festivals. Kotka is also known as a multifaceted city of educational institutions and culture.

Kotka positions itself on the development zone between Helsinki and St.Petersburg. Exchange between the two cities is expected to grow vastly and Kotka tries to find its unique offerings to serve both areas. At proximity of Kotka St.Petersburg’s economical area hosts 10M inhabitants as there are 5.5M in Finland altogether. Already the Port of Kotka has a strong role in St.Petersburg’s logistics but also other business and cultural ties are strengthening via bilateral exchange, tourism and immigration.

E18 is a motorway from Stockholm via Turku and Helsinki to St.Petersburg, currently under construction on the Finnish side. Investment needed is appr. 2000 M€ until 2017. E18 as zone of development is a project initiated to accelerate economic growth and other benefits that can emerge through combining traffic stream and new service- / functional concepts.


• How to increase region’s attractiveness and increase its cultural and economic potential?
• How to maximize and scale up the regional benefit from the E18 project?
• How to bring forth enthusiasm and true collaboration among neighboring cities/regions through E18?
• How to make the process and the concept known and where?
• How to include the Russian side in the process?


• Creation of new businesses, jobs, and collaborations.
• Faster access to domestic and foreign markets.
• Possibility to create a new image of the city and region as a viable business and cultural hub

Risks and threats to be considered

• Collaboration with various stakeholders and interest groups might complicate – even deplete the process.
• Current European economic climate and its effect on investments.
• Environmental and other ambitions are forsaken in economic pressure.
• Potential lack of enthusiasm and commitment – competing or playing safe instead.

Main Objectives

New approaches to E18 project in order to
• Increase regions attractiveness and its economic potential
• Increase the benefit from Russia’s proximity.
• Create meaningful partnership between heterogeneous stakeholders with varying interests along whole