Flights to and from Joensuu
Joensuun Airport is the departure gate to abroad for business travellers. Almost 130,000 passengers travelled through the airport in 2019. There are two daily flights from Joensuu to Helsinki, and their departure times have been optimised for connecting flights. The flights are operated by the Swedish Amapola. Joensuu Airport is in Liperi, approximately 11 kilometres from the centre of Joensuu. There are good bus connections from the airport to the centre of Joensuu and back.
The most important roads are highways 6, 9 and 23. Highway 6 goes from Loviisa to Kajaani via Joensuu. Highway 9 goes from Turku to the Niirala border crossing point in Tohmajärvi via Kuopio and Joensuu. Highway 23 runs across the country from Pori to Joensuu via Jyväskylä and Varkaus.
The rail connections to Helsinki are excellent. Six passenger trains run between Joensuu and Helsinki on weekdays, and the fastest travel time is currently approximately four hours. In the near future, the trains will run even faster, as rail investments between Joensuu and Imatra are expected to receive state funding. This reduces travel time from Joensuu to Helsinki by a total of 30 minutes. In the long term, the rail connection between Helsinki, Vantaa, Porvoo and Kouvola offers opportunities to further reduce travel time.
Freight is transported to the south and west mainly along the Karelian railway. Smaller amounts of freight are also transported towards Oulu. Industrial products, mainly raw wood, are transported along the railway every day. For instance, the Enocell pulp mill, located in Joensuu and owned by Stora Enso Oyj, uses the new railway line opened 2017, which is faster than transport by sea.
North Karelia’s infrastructure is excellent for transporting heavy industry cargo. Freight can be transported on public roads, by rail or by inland waterways in Saimaa.
EUR 90 million will be invested in the development of the Saimaa Canal by 2024. As a result of the investments, the size of the canal locks will be increased and the water level of the canal will rise from the current level. After this, vessels with capacity up to 3,200 tonnes can operate to the deepwater port in Joensuu. There is also a direct rail connection to the port.
Lake transport offers a low-carbon and environmentally friendly way of handling and transporting heavy cargo. At the moment, mostly cement, poles, sawn timber and pulp are transported from the region.
* Maximum dimensions for cargo vessels: length 93 m, width 12.6 m and draught 4.45 m.
Close to the EU’s most eastern international border crossing point
The Niirala international border crossing point is located in Värtsilä, Tohmajärvi. There is a rail and road connection to Russia from the crossing point. The international border crossing point is approximately 75 kilometres from Joensuu and is open 24/7 year-round. The capital of the Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, is located 290 kilometres from the border crossing point. The distance from the border to the city of Sortavala is only 68 kilometres, and the road connection to St. Petersburg is also gradually being improved.
Niirala is an important transport route for businesses. Freight is transported through Niirala both on road and railway. Through Niirala, pulp produced in Enocell pulp mill is exported to Europe and Asia on railway, and wood and chemicals are imported to Finland in turn.