Golden time for Kapellskär

After many years of preparation, Ports of Stockholm has now begun construction work to renew the Port of Kapellskär. When the project is completed in 2016 the port will have five quay-berths and will be well equipped to meet the needs of the future.

Kapellskär is Ports of Stockholm’s most northerly port. It is a port with a several hundred year-old history, but commercial ferry services did not begin until 8 May 1960 when the S/S Viking called at the port for the first time. The 99 meter-long ferry with a capacity to carry 88 private cars had entered service the previous year on the Gräddö–Mariehamn route, but the shipping company Vikinglinjen decided just a year later to operate services from Kapellskär instead of Gräddö. This was because it was thought that Kapellskär was a better strategic location for ferry services to Åland and Finland.

A lot has happened since then. Today Kapellskär is one of Sweden’s largest ports for rolling cargo. Half of all freight travelling to or from Finland, Estonia and Åland passes through Kapellskär. More than 900 000 passengers annually travel across the Baltic Sea via the port. It is no exaggeration to say that traffic has outgrown the port and that it has long been planned to expand and modernise the port. Now the work is at long last underway.

“We are building a port for the needs of today and tomorrow,” says Tobias Kednert, Project Manager at Ports of Stockholm.

Reducing congestion at the other ports

When the port is completed it will be better able to alleviate the demands on the other ports in Stockholm. It is important that freight transport capacity increases to keep pace with the rapid growth of Stockholm.

“The first thing we are doing is dredging the harbour basin to make the port deeper,” says Tobias Kednert.

Water depth at the port today is between seven and eight metres, and this is barely enough for the current vessels. The biggest change will be the creation of five well-functioning quay-berths. At present the port has four quay-berths, but only really three of these are fully functional. The new quay-berths will solve the shortcomings of the port that for many years have made it difficult to meet customer needs.

At the same time vessels are becoming longer. The new quay-berths will also be able to cope with the vessels of the future, which may be more than 200 metres in length.

More modern and more efficient

The existing port is not well adapted for today’s transport flow at the port. The surface area surrounding the port will therefore not only be expanded, but will also be designed to enable loading and unloading to be performed in more modern and efficient ways than today.

“Now we have the opportunity to design the port area so that there is a major focus on the working environment. The new port will be an even safer place for the people working there,” says Tobias Kednert.

It is a comprehensive project that has begun, with a budget of more than SEK 700 million. According to Tobias Kednert the biggest challenge is to make sure that the construction work is carried out without disrupting the traffic and normal scheduled services at the port.

“This requires good planning and continuous monitoring so that adjustments can be made when necessary,” explains Tobias Kednert.

The new port will open in 2016 and it will also be more environmentally friendly. In contrast to previously, vessels will be able to offload black and grey water at the new port.

“We will also create an infrastructure to be able to provide the vessels with electricity," says Tobias Kednert.

DFDS increases Kapellskär services

It is now almost exactly two years since the Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS acquired the freight and passenger route between Kapellskär and Paldiski from Baltic Scandinavian Lines. The shipping company is pleased to see the work to expand the port begin.

“The shortage of quay-berths and good timeslots has definitely been a bottleneck for us, so the rebuilding work is naturally something we view as very positive,” says Lars Malmström, Branch Manager for DFDS.

The shipping company is now introducing one extra sailing each week to and from Kapellskär.

But it is not just the availability of attractive quay-berth timeslots that he believes will be an advantage for Kapellskär. It is also the fact that the date for the introduction of the new sulphur emissions directive is looming. This is likely to mean a rise in fuel prices and that is something that will benefit Kapellskär as the port offers the shortest route for crossing the Baltic Sea to many important destinations.

He would also like to see a railway link to the port, but accepts that this will not happen in the short term.

Lars Malmström views the increased safety and security for the haulage vehicles that the improved parking areas at the rebuilt port will bring as very positive.

“We have not had any problems with theft here at the port, but the stealing of goods from lorries and trailers is a problem in other places. That is why it will be good to have more secure parking, with fences, gates and a booking system to gain access,” explains Lars Malmström.

Find out more about rebuilding the Port of Kapellskär