Pulp exports made a speedy kick-off
2017 was a year of a business launch for the Port of Helsinki. The investments necessary for transporting bioproducts from Äänekoski’s new mill were completed, and the transports began as planned in August.
The infrastructural work required by the exports terminal of Metsä Group, such as the construction of a new rail track connection, the changes to the ISPS security area, and the gate and traffic arrangements, were completed in May at Vuosaari Harbour as planned. At the same time, the area modifications project launched the previous year was concluded. The exports terminal commissioned by Metsä Group was completed in June.
Over the summer, test drives were conducted for the pulp transport. Äänekoski’s bioproduct mill was completed in August, and the pulp export through Vuosaari Harbour began gradually after that. Pulp arrives at the harbour on trains and continues to be transported on ships, either in containers or as break bulk. The export transport of pulp increased the utilisation rate of the train track connection to Vuosaari Harbour. At the end of the year, four to five trains a day arrived at the harbour.
Work to improve safety and protect the environment
The disembarkation building serving the Finnlines passenger traffic, whose construction had started the previous year, was completed at Vuosaari’s CP jetty and began operating in May. The new building with its disembarkation bridges improves the safety of passengers travelling without a car, as disembarking through the vessels’ car decks is no longer necessary. The disembarkation building was part of the EU funded Merten Moottoritie (‘Marine Motorway’) project conducted in cooperation with Finnlines and Lübeck Port between 2014 and 2017.
In June, the Port of Helsinki published its safety manual on bunkering vessels with liquified natural gas (LNG). The port’s aim is to contribute towards the implementation of environmentally more friendly options in maritime transport.
Two moveable spillage tanks were acquired for Vuosaari Harbour in case of any spills from cargo units. One of the tanks was outfitted for trucks and trailers, in particular. The old, immoveable tank previously used with leaky containers was dismantled. The more flexible solutions provided new possibilities to arranging the road connections in the port area.
With the development of even brighter LEDs, the lighting system at Vuosaari Harbour will also be gradually changed into using only LED fixtures. Fixtures will be changed cost-effectively as they come to the end of their lifecycle. In 2017, the corner lights of the quay and the bollard in berth D were replaced by LEDs. In addition, the test use of four LED-lit light masts began.
Based on the harbour’s environmental permit, the impact of the harbour on its surrounding marine sea area outside of Vuosaari is under observation. Based on the results from summer 2017, the harbour area water was hygienically of good quality and no harmful substances were detected. The harbour’s impact on the sea area’s condition is therefore negligible.
Preparing for larger vessels
Shipping companies are looking for new efficiency and their vessels are growing in size. Vuosaari Harbour and the Finnish Transport Agency have applied together for a permit from the Regional State Administrative Agency to dredge the fairway leading to the harbour, deepening it from 11 metres to 13 metres. The permit was granted in June but is not yet effective because of an appeal made to the Administrative Court of Vaasa. The court is expected to make its decision at the end of 2018.
The project to deepen the route was granted 6.72 million euros of EU support in the CEF transport blending Call for Proposals, constituting 20% of the project’s total costs.
The Port of Loviisa joined in
At the beginning of 2017, the majority stake in Loviisan Satama Oy was transferred to the Port of Helsinki Ltd. This merger with a large operator opened up new opportunities for the Port of Loviisa. The port’s total amount of transport grew by 14.7%, and the cargo flows became more versatile. In September, the port launched a sizeable grain warehouse investment by Suomen Viljava.