After many years of lobbying, and through three Interreg project periods, each of three years of COINCO, COINCO North I and II (2005 – 2013), it was in Desember 2013 finally possible to make the Norwegian and Swedish goverments to agree on looking into the upgrading and investments of a new main rail transportation corridor between Norway and Sweden and thus further to the Eurasian continent. Since January 2014 there has been a Swedish – Norwegian committee with representatives from both Jernbaneverket and Trafikverket assessing the needs for upgrading of the so called Missing Link in the corridor between Oslo and Gothenburg (see article below).

The work has been delayed. On the Norwegian side the attention of the authorities have been into getting the planning of the 16 bill Euro Inter City project around the Oslofjord up and going. In the same period there has been a change in the Swedish government with slightly other priorities. Trafikverket has started up its large HSR project that is expected to cost 33 bill Euros. The planning and design has started and one day this new system will connect Stockholm with Gothenburg and Malmø with trains with speeds up to 320 km per hour. It will reduce the travel time significantly and increase capacity for freight trains also.

These two major Norwegian and Swedish projects have taken a lot of attention and resources, and we are sorry to say that they have also led to the fact that the Norwegian–Swedish border crossing project between Oslo and Gothenburg has had less attention and priority than two years ago. In March this year (2016) the committee is publishing its report and it seems to be only marginal improvements suggested. Some of the report has been leaked and it is signalled that only marginal improvements, and small sums will be invested up to 2050.

COINCO e.V. has thus last fall gotten together with some of the same stakeholders that were part of the COINCO North I and II projects and also new actors from the private sector. Among the new stakeholders are Norway’s biggest bank, Den Norske Bank, industrial companies like Norske Skog and Borregård, KPMG, Deutsche Bahn International and associations like the Swedish–Norwegian business association, MarLife (fish exporter association), Spacegroup and COINCO e.V.

The group has done economic investigations and looked into more radical improvement. The concept is double track line for mixed traffic (passenger trains for 250 km pr hour and freight for 110 km pr hour) all the way between Oslo and Gothenburg. The calculations show that if one improves the infrastructure with double tracks this will reduce the travel time between Oslo and Gothenburg to two hours (instead of four hours today).

If one introduces economic incentives that make it slightly more economically interesting to transport by train rather than by truck, then up to 50% of today’s transportation by trucks will be shifted to trains. The most likely alternative implies investments of about 2,5 bill Euro. It consists of a combination of 25 km new tracks in the border area (including a 500 m bridge), and then an upgrading of the existing single track line (Bohusbanan). It then goes down the Western Coast of Sweden from Strømstad and south to Uddevalla.

The project is so profitable that it would be possible to get international financing through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model – if the Norwegian and Swedish governments are open to this. However given the political situation in Norway and Sweden, a Public-Public model –  like the one that Sweden has with Denmark in the Øresundbridge consortium – is most likely. COINCO e.V. will be active in the partnership that has been created. It is now growing with more political support, industrial partners, transportation companies, labor associations, environmental associations etc.

The COINCO North issues will be the main focus in 2016 and 2017 since these are also the years with opportnunities to get the “Missing Link” project into the National Transportation Plans in Norway and Sweden. More information about the initiative can be found here (only in Swedish and Norwegian).


The founding of the association COINCO e.V. took place in Berlin on July 3rd 2014, however the formal registration was not in place in Amtsgericht Charlottenburg before March 12th 2015. 2015 was thus the first operational bussines year. On November 25 th 2015 the first annual assembly was held in the venue of IHKs headquarter in Berlin. Most of the activity in first half of 2015 was aimed towards getting financing for the COINCO South activities, however there were not enough interest at this point for the research program COINCO Challenge II.

Second half of the 2015 was mostly dedicated to the COINCO North issues and getting together stakeholders who are interested in putting pressure on the Norwegian and Swedish government to more ambitious for the upgrading of the Missing Link between Oslo and Gothenburg (see article above). The annual report for 2015 is available here. (Annual report for 2015).


On July 3 th 2014 the association COINCO e.V. was founded.  The founding meeting took place in IHK Berlin. Knut Olav Halvorsen was elected chairman and Christian Wiesenhütter vice chairman of the board. At the same time the COINCO GmbH has been closed down. All the activities, material and immaterial rights etc have been transferred from the GmbH to the association.

Representatives from both Swedish, German, French and Norwegian stakeholders –  from both industry and academia – have joined. The background for the change of organization from COINCO GmbH to COINCO e.V. was the need for a broader base for the next steps, where an association is a more suitable platform. The aim of the association is to  stimulate research in to different question related to the development of large infrastructure projects between Germany and Scandinavia.

Up until now the COINCO Challenge has been mostly student work. The results have been so interesting that academic institutions like TU Berlin, TH Wildau, HTW Berlin and FH Stralsund now want to mobilize their experienced researchers to look into different questions. Other academic institutions and industry representatives will also be invited in. The first step for the COINCO e.V. is to raise funding for the research program COINCO South tunnel viability study, conducted by TU Berlin.


In September the Red/Green alliance (Ap/SV/Sp), lead by Mr Jens Stoltenberg lost the elections after eight years in power. A new Blue/Blue alliance (H/FrP) lead by Ms Erna Solberg took over in October. The new Minister of Transportation Mr Ketil Solvik-Olsen (FrP) did not waste much time.  On 2 th of December he met his Swedish colleague Chatarina Elmsäter Svärd in Stockholm to discuss closer cooperation of the planning and building of train infrastructure between the two countries.

The ministers agreed to set down a group of high level civil servants in the ministries to especially look into the Oslo – Gøteborg corridor (COINCO North) and some other possible Norwegian – Swedish transnational rail crossings.   The border passing and the 100 km one-track and old and beat down rail track between Halden and Øksnered (on the Oslo – Gøteborg corridor) is considered the most important one for the future trade and growth between the two countries, especially for Norway.

Screenshot 2014-01-05 17.46.00

There is now a considerable interest among the Norwegian and Swedish central authorities to upgrade this important part, often called “The Missing Link” of the COINCO North, to a modern double track infrastructure with HSR standards. This northern missing link, is considered necessary for stimulating transport from trucks to rails, and is thus also a conditions and an important  ”peace in the big puzzle” that builds up to the logic of the tunnel solution in the Southern part of the COINCO, that is between Sweden and Germany.

Connecting Sweden to Germany through more than a 100 km long tunnel under the Baltic Sea is an extreme infrastructure project. It raises fundamental questions – both technical, economical and political – that no one has looked into in depth before.  It could turn out yet that such a tunnel can change the transportation patterns and the regional economics of North East Germany and Scandinavia. It has the potential to create thousands of jobs, radically reduce emissions  and the overloading of trucks on the highways in Germany and Scandinavia.These kind of questions are intriguing for curious professors, researchers and students of engineering, tunnel building, rail planning, urban and regional economics, environmental impact studies and more. Through the program of COINCO Challenge we are inviting universities and technical colleagues to look into different questions and topics around the COINCO idea.The participants are free to investigate into topics where they have their professional interests –  wether it is a bachelors project, masters study or PhD.  The secretariat of the recently founded COINCO association will make sure that there is coordination of the topics between the participants, although some overlapping and different angles to the same topic is regarded only as positive. Use of the COINCO web, seminar and workshops will  be arranged to bring the different studies and results together in the multidisciplinary approach of the COINCO Challenge.

The first project results from the COINCO Challenge was published by FH Stralsund on May 30th 2013. Other participants on the way are: BTU Cottbus, TU Berlin, TH Wildau, HTW Berlin, tbc … For more information, please contact Carmen Reiz, our project coordinator.


530066_35546984In September the Red/Green alliance (Ap/SV/Sp), lead by Mr Jens Stoltenberg lost the elections after eight years in power. A new Blue/Blue alliance (H/FrP) lead by Ms Erna Solberg will take over on October 18th.  One of the last initiatives from Mr Jens Stoltenberg’s government was to present the new National Transportation Plan (NTP) and pass it through Parliament on June 18th.

In the NTP – covering the period of 2014 – 2023, an investment plan of 65 billion Euro for a new InterCity system around the Oslo Fjord was decided. The IC system will be build with HSR standard. The investments in the South Eastern part of the system will be a continuation of the already decided Follotunnel – Ski (Follobanen) starting up next year and built further south into the county of Østfold, and reach the border city of Halden by 2030.

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In the COINCO South seminar on May 30th, hosted by the City of Stralsund in the beautiful City Hall,  the first figures were presented on what dimension a tunnel between Sweden and Germany represents. Students from the FH Stralsund have been working on the technical issues related to building such a tunnel, the last semester. They have been digging into questions like the logistics of the construction (trucks versus trains), how long would it take to build it, and what to do with the masses.

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On May 30th 2013  from 17:00 to 20:00 o’clock in the city hall of the Hanseatic town Stralsund, there will be a new event in the COINCO South project.

After the opening by Mayor Dr. Alexander Badrow and Dipl. Ing. Thomas Taschenbrecker, there will a presentation on the newest development on the Scandinavian side by CEO Knut Olav Halvorsen, COINCO GmbH.

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On March 18 th. Dr Robert Sturk of SKANSKA – VINCI  presented the report “The Shortcut” on the IHK North-South-Initiative conference for 120 participants from the politics, industry, planning and science community in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In a special partner event before the seminar, COINCO GmbH was accepted as member of the North-South-Initiative.

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The next milestone, investigating the building of a train tunnel under the Baltic Sea between Sweden and North East Germany, is reached. A team consisting of three Swedish companies, Bergab, Sweco and SKANSKA, together with COINCO GmbH have evaluated the technical aspects of such a project. The report The Shortcut is now ready. It will be presented by Dr. Robert Sturk of SKANSKA on 18th of March 2013 at the North-South-Initiative ( seminar in Berlin. A copy can be ordered by contacting us.