Almost ashore

Den quay at Stockholm Norvik Port

The final pieces of the puzzle are slotting into place for the new Stockholm Norvik Port to be able to welcome the first vessel in May 2020. The quays are to all intents finalised, as are the ground installations and more than half of the buildings.

Ports of Stockholm bought the land at Norvik, close to the existing Port of Nynäshamn and adjacent to the AGA site and the Nynäs refinery, as early as 1992. After a long planning and permit application process, the first spade broke ground in September 2016.

The Stockholm Norvik Port is the biggest port to be built in Sweden in more than a century, and it is the first time that Ports of Stockholm has built an entirely new freight port from the ground up. The new port will be one of the largest in the Baltic Sea, with capacity for both rolling goods vessels and container ships.

Since the start of construction almost 440 000 square metres of land has been prepared, 1 400 metres of quay has been built, and three of the port’s total of five buildings have been erected. In addition a new four kilometre-long stretch of railway has been laid between the port and the main Nynäs Line, including a 270 metre-long railway tunnel.

At the port there is a bridge over the track that separates the railway from the road access way. All in all, around 10 million tonnes of rock has been blasted out, with a large amount able to be reused on site. There is still however a huge mound of rock and gravel that in time will make way for more port esplanade area.

Both import and export customers are interested

In the spring of 2018 Johan Wallén became the new Marketing and Sales Manager at Ports of Stockholm. Over the years he has followed the progress of Ports of Stockholm’s projects, and both the expansion of the Värtahamnen port and the Port of Kapellskär have impressed him.

“It is not often that an entirely new freight port is built in Sweden, and to have the opportunity to be part of this journey has naturally been both educational and really enjoyable. My work during the past year has involved a lot of discussions with our customers, to get their perspectives on the new port. I have talked with the shipping companies, but also with the end customer in the form of goods owners who will benefit from the Stockholm Norvik Port,” says Johan Wallén.

Johan Wallén has also been in touch with customers who need to export goods to discuss the importance the new port could have for them. Similarly to import customers, they are interested to find out more about Ports of Stockholm’s offering of an operationally reliable port built around Sweden’s most modern infrastructure.

“Many of our customers have established patterns of transport for their export of goods, but from the discussions we have had I have seen that there is great interest in new alternatives. In many cases interest has been in the now shorter overland transport to an entirely new deep sea port. At the Stockholm Norvik Port there will also be a natural excess of empty containers from the large volume of imports. This is a major resource, as the Swedish export industry has a demand for empty containers to fill for export.”

State-of-the-art infrastructure and many additional services

When we visited the Stockholm Norvik Port the ground installation work for the port esplanade had reached an advanced stage. The first of the 234 000 square metres of paving was laid in October last year. Previously, similar expanses of industrial surfaces were built using two or three layers of asphalt. Now these asphalt surfaces are often replaced by interlocking paving that is durable and unaffected by frost or heat. In addition this paving has environmental advantages, as unlike asphalt it isn’t made from oil-based products.

An additional advantage is that it is a lighter colour. That means less lighting is needed, which saves money and also reduces environmental impact.

The container terminal at the Stockholm Norvik Port will be operated by Hutchison Ports, who with business activities at 51 ports in 26 countries are one of the largest terminal operators in the world. Ports of Stockholm will hand over the keys to Hutchison Ports in November, and the first vessel is planned to arrive in May 2020.

The container part of the port is to all intents and purposes complete, and the tracks for the two container cranes that will arrive early next year are already laid, as well as the cables for the vessel shore power connections.

“Hutchison Ports has ordered the cranes to be built to suit the port’s capacity. They will be able to handle a breadth of 22 container units, which will be unique for a Swedish east coast port,” informs Johan Wallén.

Construction worker at Stockholm Norvik Port

A little later, in September 2020, Ports of Stockholm will open a new RoRo-terminal at the Stockholm Norvik Port. This will also have state-of-the-art infrastructure and a range of terminal services. Interest is great, not least because of the growing freight volumes at both Nynäshamn and Kapellskär. An example of this is traffic to and from Poland, which increased by as much as 70 percent last year.

“It can be clearly seen that many want to choose a greener alternative and transport goods by sea instead of overland haulage. The ambitions of our politicians are to primarily use shipping and rail transport whenever possible. The Stockholm Norvik Port enables this type of transition,” says Johan Wallén.

Together with the Swedish Transport Agency and the Swedish Maritime Administration, Ports of Stockholm has also looked into yet another means of transport, in the form of inland shipping, in other words traffic on canals, rivers and inland lakes, which are collectively known as inland waterways.

“For example, we are talking to operators who can provide smaller, electrically powered vessels that can carry cargo from the Stockholm Norvik Port on into Lake Mälaren to cities such as Västerås and Köping. This would enable the whole of the Mälar Valley region to be supplied, without the need for expensive land infrastructure investments,” Johan Wallén explains.

An additional argument in favour of the Stockholm Norvik Port is that highway 73 and the section between Nynäshamn – Västerhaninge has been selected by the Swedish Transport Agency as one of two potential pilot sections of highway for electrification, which is now being further investigated and planned. The governmental aim is to have one pilot section ready for use by the end of 2021.

There will be five buildings in the port area. The customs inspection building, which was completed first, has now been joined by a workshop and the port’s main office building. Work to construct the two remaining buildings, which will contain the Swedish National Food Agency border control operations and the main building for the RoRo services, began during the summer.

The rounded corners and the graphite grey, almost black façades of the buildings create continuity and tie the architecture together in a distinctive way.

Lisa Olsson is the deputy foreman at the construction company MVB, who is responsible for construction of the main building. She gives us a tour of the building that will be the office for Ports of Stockholm and Hutchison Ports employees.

“We are currently putting the finishing touches on the outer surfaces and completing the final installations, and we are looking forward with excitement to being able to put the large vaulted window panels in place,” Lisa Olsson states.

Remote control of loading and unloading

The loading and unloading of containers will be controlled remotely from the main building. Similarly to many of the other features at the port, this is new technology that the terminal operator Hutchison Ports is implementing at the Stockholm Norvik Port.

“We are delighted to have the advantage of working together with Hutchison Ports, a well established actor willing to invest in the latest technology. In many ways the container terminal at the Stockholm Norvik Port will be a showroom, where new technologies and new ways of working will be tested and implemented in due course,” concludes Johan Wallén.