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Advances in updating the X-ray technology on the eastern border

Publication date 1.9.2021 8.30
Press release

Last year, Finnish Customs subjected the procurement of large X-ray scanning systems for the Vaalimaa, Vainikkala and Imatra border crossing points to competitive tendering. Despite the exceptional year, equipment installations have gone well. The new X-ray technology will facilitate controls of goods traffic significantly. The project is mainly funded through the EU Cross Border Cooperation programme.

In the ongoing project, X-ray equipment used in customs controls of goods traffic on the eastern border is being renewed. The project entails updating the X-ray equipment used in road traffic at Vaalimaa and in rail traffic at Vainikkala, as well as the acquisition of an entirely new X-ray device for trains in Imatra.

The first train on the new track in Imatra

Trains re-routed in Imatra

The installation operations are at their most complete in Imatra where, in addition to new X-ray equipment, works have included the building of a new railway track that takes trains through an X-ray device.

– The track that runs through the X-ray facility was completed in mid-June when rail traffic started passing through the equipment. The installation work has gone well, and we also want to thank the Transport Infrastructure Agency for enabling the building of the new railway track and the protective walls for the equipment, says Mr Kari Marjamäki, Director of Enforcement at Finnish Customs.

Even though trains are already passing through the new facility, there is still more work ahead before the actual X-ray activity is started. Installations are at their final stages at this time, and the next step for Customs is to start testing and trial use periods.

Updates to equipment are also going ahead in Vainikkala and Vaalimaa. In Vainikkala, the X-ray identifier line was set up successfully already during the midsummer week, and the rest of the equipment containers were put in place in early August. The renovation and updates in the Vaalimaa X-ray facility for road traffic are also well under way, as the old equipment has been dismantled and the premises are under renovation.

The next step is the most critical in the project

The quality controls and compliance controls relating to data security and specifications applied in the acquisitions of all three X-ray devices have been even more detailed than before. The capacity of the equipment is measured, and the devices are checked numerous times to ensure that they meet Customs standards.

For measuring the capacity of the equipment, Customs has acquired new testing devices compliant with the ANSI standard that will soon be put to use. Test devices that are independent from manufacturers enable the assessment of the actual capacity of the X-ray equipment at the deployment phase, and in the coming years they will be used in regular testing.

– Our new equipment will facilitate customs controls to a considerable extent, and as the quantities of goods to be X-rayed increase all the time, we will able to control goods traffic even more extensively than before, says Mr Marjamäki.

The value of the acquisitions of X-ray equipment for Vaalimaa, Vainikkala and Imatra is about 5.8 million euros in total, of which 1.7. million euros is financed nationally, and the rest is financed through the ENI-SEFR-CBC funding programme. Customs released information on the competitive tendering for the equipment in its press release of 6 August 2020.


Image 1: Imatra, the first train on the new track
Image 2: Imatra, X-ray equipment
Image 3: Installation of the identifier line in Vainikkala
Image 4: Equipment for testing X-ray devices

Media release