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Finland Builds Facilities to Ease Border Crossing

Published: March 27, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Members of Finnish Border Guard at a passport control point.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Despite a recent drop in the number of Russian tourists visiting Finland following the abrupt rise in the euro exchange rate, Finland continues to make its border more accessible and the crossing more convenient for its closest neighbors.

As a result of new initiatives, the three main Finnish border crossings with Russia are increasing the number of passenger checkpoint booths as well as the number of border guards to make the immigration process smoother and faster from a passenger point of view, Major Ville Joskitt, Chief of the Border Checks Sector and Border Operations Office of the Southeast Finland Border Guard District, said last week.

In general, since 2009 the traffic of individual tourists from Russia has gradually increased. Accordingly we need to adapt our border and customs facilities to accommodate such an increase, Joskitt said.

The number of people crossing checkpoints into Southeast Finland increased by 48 percent from 2009 to 2012, according to data from the Finnish Border Guard office. The majority of visitors traditionally come from Russia.

The developments are being introduced at the three largest Finnish checkpoints on the border with Russia: Nuijamaa, Imatra and Vaalimaa. Finland plans to add 100 more border guards at all three checkpoints.

Currently, the number of automobile transport crossings over the Russian-Finish border at the Nuijamaa checkpoint is 3.7 million a year, while the real capacity at the checkpoint is only 2.5 million. Once the expansion of the border facilities is completed, Nuijamaa will be able to handle up to six million vehicle crossings a year.

The capacity of the Imatra checkpoint will rise from one million to four million, while the capacity of Vaalimaa checkpoint will increase from 2.6 million to six million, the Finnish Border Guard office said.

At Nuijamaa the new facilities for vehicles entering Russia are scheduled for completion by this summer and ready for the increased influx of visitors by fall 2014.

At Imatra the facilities for both directions will be ready this year and theyll be finished in 2014/2015 at Vaalimaa.

At all the mentioned checkpoints the service of passenger and cargo transport will be done separately to ease the border crossing process.

The new border infrastructure at the Finnish checkpoints will allow passengers to complete the border crossing without ever leaving their car to save time.

During periods of peak traffic, the Finnish Border Guard will open more cabins to speed up the border process.

Finnish border guards will also be able to perform some of the duties of customs as well as customs officers performing border guard duties, the Finnish Border Guard office said.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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