Letter of Intent to Be Signed with China Railway Group on Undersea Tunnel Linking Estonia and Finland

Finnish entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka, who has been planning an undersea tunnel connecting the Finnish and Estonian capital cities of Helsinki and Tallinn, announced on July 9 that he intended to sign a letter of intent with China Railway Group Limited (CREC) for the construction of the project.  The project is expected to take six years to complete. Vesterbacka, formerly a gaming executive, previously announced a concept plan for the project in January 2018, adding that he expected 70% of the funding to come from Chinese sources. 

In July 2018, a Finnish Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner said, “I am very open to his plans. He needs state contribution and we need private sector presence. Private money often accelerates projects. It is important that this is a European project, but by stating that, we are not ruling out Chinese money.” A feasibility study in early 2018 found the tunnel could cost up to $22.5 billion. There is no indication, however, of which Chinese entities Vesterbacka has in mind for funding. The Estonian government has also demonstrated a lukewarm disposition towards the latest development, with Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab saying that that Vesterbacka’s goal of completing construction by 2024 was “not realistic.”