Operating environment

Operating environment

Paltamo sijaitsee Oulujärven rannalla keskellä Suomea

KaiCell Fibers Oy is planning on building a bioproduct mill in Paltamo, in the middle of Kainuu. At the construction stage, the Paltamo mill would have an economic impact on the entire country. At the production stage, the project’s economic effects would benefit the region of Kainuu. The combined population of the six municipalities of Kainuu and the cities of Kajaani and Kuhmo is 70,521 people, of whom approximately 56% are of working age (15–64) and 13% under 15. The population of Paltamo is approximately 3,100 people.

Kainuu population by municipality (Statistics Finland 2022)

 Municipality  Population  Website
Paltamo 3 100  www.paltamo.fi
Hyrynsalmi 2 054  www.hyrynsalmi.fi
Kajaani 36 297  www.kajaani.fi
Kuhmo 7 755  www.kuhmo.fi
Puolanka 2 380  www.puolanka.fi
Ristijärvi 1 174  www.ristijarvi.fi
Sotkamo 10 354  www.sotkamo.fi
Suomussalmi  7 367  www.suomussalmi.fi

Age distribution in Kainuu

Age distribution in Kainuu (Statistics Finland 2022)

Paltamo is located at the crossing points of the road network and railway network. The main railway in Finland runs through Paltamo’s two railway stations. Paltamo also has a railway connection across the border to Russia as well as industrial railways to Suomussalmi in the north and Joensuu in the south. National roads E63 (national road 5) and 6 run through Kainuu from north to south and national roads 22 and 28 from east to west. The nearest airport is located in Kajaani. The Oulu airport is situated within 150 kilometres and the Kuopio airport within 200 kilometres from Paltamo.

Road network in Kainuu (Sourcee: Regional Council of Kainuu)

The road network is wide and in good condition. National road 5 is the major south-to-north road from Helsinki to Sodankylä via Kainuu. The daily volume of traffic on the national road can reach over 6,000 vehicles at Kainuu. National road 6 running from Sotkamo to south Joensuu and all the way up to Petrozavodsk, Russia, via the Niirala border station, and main road 78 from Paltamo to Rovaniemi are important north-to-south roads.

The most important transverse road is national road 22 from Oulu to Kajaani. The volume of traffic exceeds 3,000 per day at Paltamo. Important transverse roads include main road 89 to Kostomuksha, Russia, via the border station of Vartius, and national road 76 to Kuhmo and national road 28 from Kajaani to the west coast of Kokkola.

Distance to Paltamo

Locality  Distance   Travel time
Kajaani 38 km 32 min
Sotkamo 53 km 45 min
Puolanka 61 km 45 min
Suomussalmi  93 km 70 min
Oulu 146 km 110 min
Kuopio 207 km 150 min
Kuusamo 230 km 260 min


Finland’s other main railway from north to south runs from Oulu to Helsinki via Paltamo. Two of this railway’s stations are located in Paltamo: Paltamo and Kontiomäki. Kontiomäki is a railway branching station from where railways run to Helsinki via Kajaani and to Kostomuksha, Russia, via the border station of Vartius. Industrial railways run to Suomussalmi and Joensuu. The main railway and the industrial railway to Vartius are electrified. There are railway connections to the ports on the Gulf of Bothnia from Oulu as well as from Iisalmi to Kokkola and Raahe via Ylivieska.

A total of eight ports operate on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia around the clock, of which the ports of Kokkola, Raahe and Oulu are the largest.

The port of Kokkola is the largest port on the Gulf of Bothnia and the fourth largest port in Finland. The port of Kokkola is the only deep-water port in the Bay of Bothnia and Northern Quark. The fairway was recently deepened to 14 metres. The port has a direct railway connection to the main railway and to Russia via Kontiomäki. Container and ore deliveries are dispatched to and received from Russia every day.

Panamax and Cape Size class vessels are allowed to call the port. The main port processes mainly general cargo. The port has Europe’s largest All Weather Terminal as well as the infrastructure for processing liquids (industrial chemicals and oil products). The port has regular ship routes to, for example, North Africa and container traffic to European cities, such as Antwerp.

Oulun satama koostuu kolmesta satamasta: Oritkarin, Vihreäsaaren ja Nuottasaaren satamat

The port of Oulu is the leading forest-industry and unit-load port and the largest container port in the Bay of Bothnia. The ports of Oritkari, Nuottasaari and Vihreäsaari serve around the clock every day of the year. Nuottasaari operates mainly as a port of importation of raw materials used by the forest-industry, such as carbonate, kaolin and chemicals. The port of Oritkari processes containers, paper and other forest-industry products. Vihreäsaari exports and imports liquid fuels, bitumen, cement, and bulk cargo, such as grain. Paper, chemical pulp, sawn timber, bulk cargo, general cargo, containers and trailers pass through the port. The ports’ have weekly connections by Ro-Ro vessels and feeder ships to many ports in Central Europe, the UK and the Mediterranean.

Many global forwarding companies and operators operate at the port and provide warehousing and containerisation services. The port has direct connections to important national roads, such as national road 22 to Kainuu, as well as railway connections to the main railway and Russia. The port also has a bonded warehouse for goods not yet cleared by the customs that have arrived from or are dispatched to countries outside the EU. The customs office is located in the immediate vicinity of the port.

The port of Raahe is the second busiest port in the Bay of Bothnia. The port is located near the Raahe steel mill. Goods including raw materials and bulk cargo, steel, sawn timber and containers as well as heavy cargo for oil drilling and wind power projects pass through the port. A containerisation terminal of 6,000 m2 is located in the Lapaluoto section of the port, and the port also provides district heating for the construction of heated warehouses.

The port has a connection to national roads as well as an electrified railway connection to the main railway of Finland. Raahe offers excellent sea routes to Central Europe, the UK and the Mediterranean. There are weekly routes to Antwerp, Vejle; every other week to Hull and Szczecin; and once a month to Pasajes and Ravenna.

Bay of Bothnia ports (Statistics Finland 2024)

Port Fairway depth(m) Quays (m) Warehouse area (m2) Goods traffic (2023 tn) Distance (km)
Raahe 10 1 350 19 000 5 553 086 200
Kokkola 14 2 275 83 000 3 020 983 286
Oulu 12 1 622 80 000 1 318 412 150


Paltamo’s nearest airport is located in Kajaani within approximately 45 kilometres. There are two daily flights from Kajaani to Helsinki, the largest airport in Finland. From Helsinki, there are connections to all over the world.

The travel time to the airport of Oulu is approximately two hours. The airport of Oulu is the second busiest airport in Finland. On weekdays, there are approximately ten departures from Oulu to Helsinki.  The airports of Kuopio and Kuusamo are located within a three-hour car ride from Paltamo. In addition, there are regular flights to Kuusamo from Germany in summer and multiple daily departures from England around Christmas.

Local airfields are located in Kuhmo and Suomussalmi in Kainuu and in Vaala.

Airport    Distance    Travel time    Website 
Kajaani 45 36 www.finavia.fi/en/kajaani.fi 
Oulu 153 120 www.finavia.fi/en/oulu.fi
Kuopio 193 150 www.finavia.fi/en/kuopio.fi
Kuusamo 235 165 www.finavia.fi/en/kuusamo.fi


Suomen rajanylityspaikat, satamat ja lentoasemat

Source: Finnish Border Guard

Users of electricity are free to choose their electricity provider in Finland. The services of different electricity vendors can be compared using the price comparison service provided by the Energy Authority (www.sahkonhinta.fi). Customers cannot choose the local company responsible for the transmission of electricity. The electricity vendor concludes an electrical network agreement on the customer’s behalf at the customer’s discretion. At Paltamo, Kajave Oy is responsible for the transmission of electricity.

The cooperative of Vaaran Vesi has built a fibre-based network in the area of Vaarankyläntie-Koikeronvaarantie. The fibre-based network in the urban area of Paltamo, Kiehimävaara, Meteliniemi and Luhtaniemi is provided by Kaisanet. The cooperative of Siikaverkko Osuuskunta has launched a survey and information project to estimate households’ and companies’ demand for a fibre-based network and to assess the conditions for building a fibre-based network in other areas in the municipality of Paltamo.

Everyone has the right to have a functional telephone service and a broadband of two megabits connected to their home or business premises. If an area does not have enough commercial offering, a special service provider is designated for the area in question.

All telecommunications operators in Finland provide mobile broadband services in Paltamo. A 4G mobile broadband connection of 100 Mbit/s is available in all central areas of Kainuu. A 5G mobile broadband connection is available in the central areas of Hyrynsalmi, Kajaani, Kuhmo, Paltamo, Sotkamo and Suomussalmi.

In terms of turnover, the region’s top industries are bioeconomy and forest and wood cluster (Kuva: Metsä-Multia Oy)

The region’s abundant natural resources, such as forests, minerals and nature, are points of interest to international business and investments. In terms of turnover, the region’s top industries are bioeconomy (forest and wood cluster, energy and tourism), extractive industry and technology industry. Out of the leading industries bioeconomy, technology industry and extractive industry constitute the largest source of employment. The most important growing industry in Kainuu is the ecosystem developed around the data centre and its supercomputers.

Top industry clusters (Source: Regional Council of Kainuu)

Industry  Turnover (M€)  Personnel 
Bioeconomy 690 2 655
Extractive industry 682 1 327
Technology industry 405 2 389

Nearly 5,000 companies operate in Kainuu, employing a total of over 15,000 people. The industries with the highest employment rate are health and social welfare services, wholesale and retail business, and administrative and support services. In Paltamo, health and social welfare services, transport and warehousing services, and the construction industry have the most employees.

Jobs in Kainuu by industry (Source: Regional Council of Kainuu)

Industry  In Kainuu   In Paltamo 
Health and social welfare services 6 071 209
Wholesale and retail business 2 471 88
Administrative and support services 2 481 69
Manufacturing 2 283 30
Public administration 1 986 45
Construction 1 881 101
Education 1 803 89
Agriculture and forestry 1 483 78
Transport and warehousing 1 143 107
Mining and quarrying 1 072 3
Professional, scientific and technical activities 951 30
Accommodation and nutrition services 895 15

In terms of turnover, the largest companies operating in Kainuu are the nickel and battery mineral company Terrafame Oy, retail company Osuuskauppa Maakunta and forest industry company Kuhmo Oy. You can find the contact details of companies active in Paltamo in the company and service directory of Kainuu.

Economy development and services supporting business

The services supporting business activities available in Kainuu have been compiled on the website of Business Kainuu. Business Kainuu is a channel where you can find all the corporate services, experts and competence available in the region of Kainuu. You can find the employment services of Paltamo here.

In Kainuu, the majority of the population live in detached houses or apartments they own. In Paltamo, nearly all houses are detached or terraced houses. A dreamhouse in Kainuu is located in the lap of nature or by a waterway but still near the essential services. The proximity of nature and accessible basic services are the cornerstones of comfortable and effortless everyday life. The distances are short in cities and municipal centres as well, giving the residents plenty of time for recreation and relaxation. The price per square metre for flats, houses and plots is affordable.

The economic area has nearly 5,200 rental flats owned by municipalities and cities. In Paltamo, property company Kiinteistö Oy Paltamon Kiehinen has 266 rental flats in terraced houses. The flats are rented out through the municipalities and cities. 43 accommodation businesses operate in Kainuu with a total of 2,281 rooms and 8,348 beds. Kainuu also has 19 hotels with a total of 5,722 beds. There are nearly 100 restaurants and cafés in the region.

A new area of detached houses called Maastopolku is rising in Kontiomäki, Paltamo. If you are interested in building a detached house or summer cottage in Paltamo, you can find a list of vacant plots here.

Paltamo provides opportunities for remote work

Paltamo also offers rented holiday houses, flats, and rooms for shorter stays. These are ideal for teleworking, for example.

The wellbeing services county of Kainuu provides social welfare and health services in the municipalities and cities of Kainuu.

Early childhood education and care is offered free of charge in Paltamo. Paltamo has two day-care centres and a family day-care service. Day-care centre Männynkäpy is located in the centre of Paltamo and day-care centre Mesikämmen is located in Kontiomäki.

Paltamo has two secondary schools and an upper secondary school

Every municipality and city in Kainuu provides basic education. Kainuu has 31 comprehensive schools. In Paltamo, basic education is provided by Korpitie School and Kontiomäki School. The upper secondary school of Paltamo operates in the multi-purpose centre of Korpitie. Kainuu also has five other upper secondary schools, which are located in Kuhmo, Kajaani, Puolanka, Sotkamo and Suomussalmi. The upper secondary schools of Kajaani and Kuhmo have a music programme. The upper secondary school of Sotkamo offers future elite athletes an opportunity to combine goal-oriented training with upper secondary school studies at the Ruka-Vuokatti Sport Academy.

In addition to the upper secondary schools, upper secondary vocational training is provided by the Kainuu Vocational College KAO and Vuokatti Sport Academy. KAO offers versatile vocational training from the basic degree to vocational and specialised vocational degrees. Additional vocational training is provided at educational institutes and as apprenticeship training. KAO’s permanent premises are located in Kajaani, Kuusamo, Vantaa and Vuokatti.

Vuokatti Sport Academy offers basic and additional vocational training in sports, massage services and coaching, for example, ski instructor training. The school allows you to take health-enhancing physical activity and nutrition classes for the Open University of the University of Eastern Finland and complete a physiotherapist's degree, for example.

Kajaani University of Applied Sciences provides educational, research, development and innovation services in the fields of well-being, technology, business and tourism. The University offers adult education, training in biotechnology, sports technology, measurement technology and computer science, and training and research in the arts and social sciences. In addition, the University offers the opportunity to specialise in the game sector through game technology studies (engineering) or computer science (business administration). Esports Business is a business programme focused on eSports.

The Kajaani University Consortium is an academic community in the region of Kainuu, where universities cooperate under the coordination the University of Oulu. The Consortium is focused on scientific research and education, and it promotes the efficient utilisation of research results in business life. All the university units operating in Kainuu (Eastern Finland, Lapland and Jyväskylä) are part of the Kajaani University Consortium.

The University of Oulu is a Finnish university specialised in scientific research. It is located in Oulu and operates internationally. In 2021, the University had approximately 13,500 students and 3,400 employees. Approximately 2,800 degrees are completed annually. The University has a wide range of Finnish and international degree programmes, Master’s degree programmes and doctorate programmes. Eight faculties form a scientific community, in which one can study as a degree student or register for separate study modules.

The University of Oulu is an active partner of numerous companies. The University offers businesses competent employees and experts, facilities and research equipment, solutions to research problems, and further training.

Centre of Competence Kainuun Aalto is a cooperative educational institute formed by the Kainuu Summer University and Aalto Adult Education Centre. Kainuun Aalto offers open university studies, open applied sciences studies, additional vocational training and recreational courses. Every municipality has an adult education centre that follows the principle of lifelong learning. Adult education centres offer opportunities to improve one’s skills and competence with the objective of supporting regional culture and education. Adult education centres organise courses on, for example, manual skills, physical activity, music and social sciences for all ages. Paltamo Adult Education Centre organises courses in Paltamo and Ristijärvi.

Kainuu Adult Education Centre in Paltamo provides preparatory education and training to people who do not have an upper secondary qualification or who need support and guidance for finding their educational path. For example, the Centre organises preparatory courses for those applying for vocational training in social welfare, health and education and young people preparing for upper secondary education.

Paltamo offers excellent recreational opportunities for people who are enthusiastic about sports and fitness, arts or nature. Nature is an essential part of sports and fitness.

Paltamo golf course in Oulujärvi's coastal landscape

The scenic Paltamo golf course is located next to the beautiful Lake Oulujärvi. Lake Oulujärvi and other waterways offer versatile conditions for many types of physical activity. Paltamo has six public beaches, nine marinas or landing stages, and three small harbours. In addition, the canoeing centre of Paltamo offers canoeing courses and a rented kayak storage. Lake Oulujärvi and the many rivers of Paltamo are ideal fishing spots.

Kuhakunkku event is the largest annual trolling competition in Finland © Paltamo

The annual Kuhakunkku event is the largest trolling competition in Finland.

For fans of disc golf, Paltamo has two disc golf courses: Metelinniemi and Tervalampi. There is a skatepark at the market square. Paltamo also has multiple gravel pitches and athletics fields suitable for different ball games. In winter, you can skate and play ice hockey on a covered ice rink. At the gym of the multi-purpose centre of Korpitie, you can exercise for free around the year.

Over 1,000 kilometres worth of snowmobile trails in Kainuu © Paltamo

In winter, skiers can enjoy the well-maintained ski tracks in the town centre, Mieslahti and Kontiomäki. And if skiing is too slow for you, you are welcome to try the snowmobile trails that cover the entirety of Kainuu. Over 1,000 kilometres worth of snowmobile trails were repaired and improved in 2019 and 2021 as part of the Kamore project. You can find the trail map on the website of Kamore.. The Paltamo Motor Club/Urheiluautoilijat ry creates an ice track at the mouth of the River Kiehimäenjoki for car and motorbike enthusiasts and those wanting to practise their driving in slippery conditions.

If you love music, art, and other culture, Paltamo has numerous events all year round. At the summer theatre, you can enjoy locally produced productions. The local library does not only loan out books and records but also camping equipment.

Paltamo’s versatile natural landscape offers hiking routes across hills, along rivers and in untouched spruce forests or pine moors. There are routes of different difficulty levels and lengths. In autumn, you can also discover excellent berry-picking spots by the routes.

Korhonen Salla Development director