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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 they’ll 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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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