Smart Marina - A huge project to implement and communicate

By Ester Laurell, Contact Point Åland
Published on 24.3.2020
Type of content: Interview

In English

 A huge project to implement and communicate

The interview is done in 2020.
I met Annica at my office in Mariehamn and I asked her some questions:

- Who are you?

I am Annica Grönlund, and I am the communication manager of Smart Marina since autumn 2019, while Elina is on maternity leave, and I also help the project manager with procurement. Ålands Utvecklings Ab is the Lead Partner (LP) of the Smart Marina project and based in Mariehamn, the Åland Islands, Finland.
I have a wide range of experience within marketing and account management, and I have worked with EU funded projects earlier. I have also worked with film and capital markets.

- What is the Smart Marina project about - in six words?


- What are you up to right now?

We have recently worked together with the other Interreg Central Baltic project Sestop planning and having a stand at the boat fairs VENE in Helsinki and ALLT FÖR SJÖN in Stockholm. As a Lead Partner we have also had a stand at Ålandsmässan in Mariehamn, Åland, during a weekend in mid-March.
We are planning a study trip to Ireland and safety training in Mariehamn – but we will see what happens now in Corona times.
We have got a lot of investments in the harbours during spring. There is an ongoing renovation of service building at Brudhäll Guest Harbour at Kökar, the Åland Islands. A local company, Kökar Service, is doing the construction work (see added photos).

- What has been easier than expected?

Decision making at Ålands Utvecklings Ab/Smart Marina is fast, and therefore we can do a lot in a short period of time. 

- What are the most important results of your project?

The most important results have been the environmentally friendly solutions, which we have implemented in the harbours. Cooperation as well as learning from each other has been an important result in the Smart Marina project. Development of the 34 guest harbours is essential in today’s marina world. Visitors expect a good standard and environmentally friendly solutions when coming to the harbours. We are keen on sharing information and good practice examples to the public and partners in the project. 

- Are there any additional results you wish to mention?

Study visits to other harbours in Europe have been helpful, and we have found new and improved ways in developing the guest harbours in our project. There are also other harbours that are interested in joining the project and we can hopefully work with them in the future. 
Many guest harbours, especially in the archipelago, would not have been able to invest in their harbours without the Smart Marina project.
Now it is important to communicate to potential visitors about the investments that have been done in the different guest harbours. 
We have been working closely with the other Central Baltic project Seastop with the large boat fairs in Stockholm and Helsinki during the past four months. Among others, we work together with the organisation for Blue Flag and the Swedish Guest harbour network, Riksföreningen Gästhamnar Sverige.  

- Which channels are you using to communicate (and to whom) about your project?

We are communicating to the public and authorities via for example social media, websites, applications, boat fairs, seminars, workshops, networks and events.

- What are you most proud of - so far?

We are proud of all investments in the 34 Marinas in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. We are also proud of the cooperation between the two Interreg Central Baltic projects Seastop and Smart Marina and the cooperation between the 55 guest harbours.
I believe it is important that everyone involved in the project works seamlessly together in order to ensure a good result. From an environmental perspective it is very good to see renewable energy as well as the cleaning of the water systems, which we use in some of our harbours. 

CB projects Smart Marina and SEASTOP at boat fair in Helsinki 2020
  • CB projects Smart Marina and SEASTOP at boat fair in Helsinki 2020
  • Brudhäll, guest harbor and archipelago hotel in Kökar
  • Renovated service house at Brudhäll, Kökar