FBFL: New study documents large potential impacts on trade and labour market
This new study documents the massive potential within trade, business, innovation, and labour market impacts related to the fixed link across the Fehmarn Belt. However, it also stresses the importance of addressing a large number of political and trade related barriers in order to maximize the impact and not miss the opportunity of a decade.
The political organization STRING, representing local and regional northern European authorities from Oslo to Hamburg in a mega region with more than 14 million people, just published a new study conducted by Rambøll Management Consulting providing answers to key economic questions related to the Fehmarn-Belt Fixed Link (FBFL) and its potential. The analysis documents what experts have been claiming all along: that the fixed link is in fact one of the most important infrastructure initiatives of the decade.
Impact on transport cost and international goods trade
There is no doubt that reduced transport times – and by that reduced associated costs – will boost competitiveness of business in the STRING region. The expected annual transport cost saving amounts to approximately € 90 million for the STRING region (est. saving interval € 34 million – € 143 million). Based on that, the study estimates a total increase in trade of € 940 million (the sum of exports and imports increases for all the STRING regions) from the establishment of FBFL (est. interval of the trade effect € 330 million – € 1 550 million).
Positive labour market effects
The FBFL and associated infrastructure will benefit commuting in the STRING region. The access to labour increases substantially making the region more attractive for businesses. With shorter commuting distances within the STRING region, both domestically and cross-border, commuting is expected to increase. In Region Zealand the number of Danish domestic commuters is expected to increase by more than 2,000 people. Also, the FBFL is expected to cause the number of cross-border commuters between Germany and Denmark to increase by approximately 1 400 people.
Impact on innovation
FBFL will likely strengthen the STRING region as a knowledge region since the interconnection between German and Scandinavian universities and knowledge-intensive businesses will improve. Both the enhancement of scientists’ mobility and the increased interconnectedness for knowledge-intensive business sectors will be a catalyst for innovation.
Key barriers that must be addressed to maximise potential
The study consequently documents that the FBFL has the potential to change the STRING region in the same way that the bridge between Denmark and Sweden changed the Øresund region. The big difference is that the STRING region has a greater need for support from both the business community and the political side in order to make that change. The report documents three key areas, which must be addressed to achieve the full potential of the FBFL.
First of all, usage and connectivity must be optimised by carefully considering the FBFL level of tariff to ensure high utilization and competitiveness, and by ensuring a good mix of fast direct intercity trains, as well as trains with more frequent stops. Also, to overcome barriers for transport and travel it is key to minimise capacity constraints on other transport corridors, minimise technical barriers for cross-border railway transport and ensure user-friendly and convenient ticket systems. Last but not least, the study shows that in order to facilitate cross-regional business, innovation, and labour, it is critical to minimise the administrative burden for cross-regional and cross-country mobility and business activity and to inform, engage and activate stakeholders about opportunities to realise the full potential of the FBFL.
You can download the full report and executive summary here: