The CBSmallPorts project, focused on developing small ports in the Central Baltic area, started just as the pandemic hit the world in 2020. COVID restrictions prevented face-to-face meetings from happening and therefore project partners from different countries were only able to meet in online meetings and workshops. Luckily, during the last few months of the project, the CBSmallPorts partners, including SAMK team, could have a few face-to-face workshops and participate in a few events and fairs. At last, the final conference and final partner meeting were held in in Riga, Latvia in August 2022 for the entire project partnership.
Travel to Riga, 24.08.2022
The SAMK team took an approximately one-hour flight from Helsinki to Riga in the afternoon on 24 August. When we arrived at the airport in Riga, we took taxis to our hotel Wellton Riverside Spa Hotel located in the city center. After a short rest we had a walk in the old town of Riga which was very close to the hotel.
The old town of Riga had a wonderful atmosphere with historical buildings. Most of us in the team were taking beautiful photos of the streets and buildings even though a few of us had already visited the place some years back. Our walk in the old town, which lasted for a few hours, ended with a great dinner. The it was time to head back to the hotel to rest and to prepare for the conference on the day after.
CBSmallPorts final conference, 25.08.2022
The venue for the final conference room was located on the top (8th) floor of the same hotel we stayed at. After having a good breakfast, we met our partners in the conference room at around 9:30 AM to have a coffee and start the conference at 10 AM.
It was very exciting to finally being able to meet the partners from Sweden, Latvia, and Estonia after having mostly online meetings for over two years. That reminded us how important it is to meet the coworkers or partners in person and how the work can proceed when meeting people face-to-face.
During the final conference, the presentations covered topics such as small port development, energy efficiency for boaters and small ports, and development of networks and cooperation. The small ports are part of the tourism industry – they are essential in providing services to boaters and other users. It was mentioned that one euro spent in the small port leads to four euros spent in other services. The CBSmallPorts project results were presented by SAMK’s Minna Keinänen-Toivola. Minna introduced one of the key results of the CBSmallPorts project, an online platform called Baltic Small Ports. In addition, as August 25 happened to be the annual Baltic Sea Day, it was a great opportunity to celebrate the Baltic Sea at the conference, as well.
The last partner meeting with a tour in small ports and old Riga, 26.08.2022
On Friday morning, SAMK team and project partners gathered in the meeting room for the last partner meeting of the project. It was time to sum up the results and have final discussions. Jussi Sutela from XAMK, one of the project partner organizations, attended the meeting online. At last, we took a group photo and ended the meeting with a wish to work with the same partners in future projects.
After the meeting, we took a bus to visit three small ports in Riga and to have a one-hour guided tour in the old town of Riga. We had the chance to hear the history and stories behind the old buildings. Riga and Latvia in general, have an interesting history and hearing them while visiting the place and taking photos, is a great experience.
Finally, after a lunch in a restaurant with a beautiful view it was time to head to the airport and return to Finland. Overall, it was an amazing trip with the company of nice people, in a beautiful city with a wonderful atmosphere.
Text: Sina Khabbazi and Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola
Photos: Sina Khabbazi and Minna M. Keinänen-Toivola