Three Finnish Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) core ports, Turku, Naantali and HaminaKotka are planning to invest €8.1m in cooperation with shipping companies Ports of Stockholm and Viking Line to improve the condition of Baltic Sea.

With the investment, the companies expect to reduce the environmental impact that shipping has on the Baltic Sea.

Representatives from the ports met with the shipping companies in October to begin an EU-funded joint project aimed towards improving the maritime links between Sweden and Finland.

"These are important measures to create a sustainable maritime link between Finland and Sweden."

The joint project includes construction of waste water reception facilities, installations to facilitate ro-ro and ro-pax ferries to connect to onshore power supply, and planning for reception of scrubber sludge and LNG bunkering.

Finnish shipping company Viking Line that operates between Turku and Stockholm is planning to develop a safe, efficient ro-ro passenger ferry concept to be operated between Finland and Sweden.

The Baltic Sea has been named as a special area under Annex IV of MARPOL, which consists of regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships.

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The new regulations are going to be applicable from 2019 for new passenger vessels and 2021 for existing passenger vessels.

The announcement comes at a time when the shipping industry faces stricter environmental legislation and is slowly shifting towards becoming more sustainable.

Port of Turku CEO Christian Ramberg said: "By investing in environmental services, our ports create the possibility for our customers to not only comply with existing environmental regulations, but also to go beyond legislations.

"These are important measures to create a sustainable maritime link between Finland and Sweden."