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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

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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