Baltic/Nordic/CIS Trade - Nordic/Baltic ports offer innovative transport options

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Ports & Terminals  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOT
Nordic and Baltic ports are offering innovative means of transport to growing markets in Scandinavia, Finland, and Northern Europe. But innovative transport schemes also offer opportunities farther a field.
Sweden’s connections
The Port of Gothenburg in western Sweden is taking steps to strengthen its position as a transshipment hub for the Baltic region. With commerce increasing in that region, the port experienced a record 33 million tons and 660,000 teus of freight pass through its docks in 2003:
Consequently, Port of Gothenburg AB, the city-owned company operating the port, is investing 35 million Euros to deepen its channel and make improvements to its Skandia Container Terminal. Upgrades call for a third ship-to-shore gantry crane rail that will extend the current 20-meter long rail gauge an additional 30 meters.
“The wider gauge will be needed not only because of increased vessel beams but also because loads are becoming heavier,” says Kjell Svensson, ports spokesman.
Further monies are being allocated for terminal software improvements.
The Skandia Container Terminal serves as Scandinavia’s No. 1 container port. A number of steamship lines servicing the Americas, Middle East, Asia and Mediterranean call here. Among them is Maersk Sealand, which serves the port with its huge S class vessels on the Europe-to-Asia run.
Intra-European services calling at the terminal have also increased.
“Half of the deep-sea shipping through the port is by relay services for transshipment on the European continent,” says Svensson. “The mix is a benefit for shippers. It gives them a choice when exporting cargo. The same applies to imports.”
The Port of Gothenburg also operates a 800,000 square meter ro/ro terminal that focuses on North European short-sea traffic. DFDS Tor Line and Cobelfret shipping lines operate from the terminal.
“But there are also industrial flows where port and exporters/importers have a more direct contact,” says Svensson.
Among them are Stora Enso, which has chosen to utilize the Port of Gothenburg as its transshipment hub, and Outokumpu Stainless. Outokumpu Stainless is a steel producer with mills in the United Kingdom as well as in Finland and Sweden. Stora Enso is a leading forest product company based in Helsinki, Finland with operations in more than 40 countries around the world. Other users are Volvo cars, trucks and buses; SAAB cars; and Scania trucks.
“The paper export technology is perhaps the most eye-catching of interface solutions at the ro/ro terminal,” says Svensson. “The Stora Enso forest-product group has a system running where weather-protected cassettes (SECUs, for Stora Enso Cargo Unites) circulate between mills in Sweden and the Continental hub at Zeebrugge in Belgium.”
The ships have paper as their core cargo. The extra volume on board is used for traditional ro/ro transport. Filling the ships is the task of Belgian transport and Belgian shipping company Cobelfret.
Using Gothenburg as its hub, Stora Enso plans to transship its Finnish volumes along with the Swedish ones to the Zeebrugge in Belgium, and Immingham and Tilbury in Great Britain, beginning in the summer of 2005.
Cobelfret launched its ro/ro service between Gothenburg and Immingham in January. The service competes directly with the Anglo Bridge Services operated by DFDS Tor Line between Gothenburg and Immingham.
The system, called Northern European Transport Supply System (NETSS), will in further phases, taking in more Finnish volumes and making use of the possibilities built into its first two phases. Two ro/ro vessels have been chartered to act as a shuttle between Kotka, Finland and Gothenburg.
In 2003, the port’s handled 277,000 units (trailers, containers and cassettes) and 158,000 cars at its ro/ro terminal.
Finland‘s connections via Russia
Finland’s ports of Kotka and Hamina have played an important role in Finnish commerce ever since the old Finnish port of Vyborg was ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II. A

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American Journal of Transportation