Stockholm is one of Europe’s most recognisable capitals and one of Scandinavia’s most important maritime hubs. The responsibility for its ports, which are scattered throughout the city, falls to Stockholms Hamns or the Ports of Stockholm Group. It is a municipally owned port authority tasked with providing the region’s maritime infrastructure high quality, reliable support.
Chief executive officer Johan Castwall sums up the organisations responsibilities: “Our general objectives are to ensure and develop good prerequisites for the shipping and the provision of goods to the region; promote the region’s development in terms of passengers and cruise traffic throughout the Baltic Sea; meet the region’s long-term needs for efficient port capacity; and promote and be a role model for environmentally friendly transportation.”
These objectives are perfectly summed up by a major redevelopment project Ports of Stockholm Group is currently implementing called Hamnvision 2015. Ratified in 2006 and with practical work about to begin, it will transform the city’s port infrastructure not only to improve its ship handling capabilities but also to better integrate it with the surrounding community whilst reducing environmental impact.
Johan talks in much greater detail about the four developments: “Stockholm-Nynäshamn, Norvikudden is being built to secure an efficient supply of goods to the growing Stockholm region over the long-term. The port will meet the demands of the future by being able to accommodate larger vessels and will also contribute to enabling a transition from overland haulage to more environmentally friendly sea transportation routes. The construction start date will be set as soon as permits are granted. The first vessel will call round three years after building begins.
“The Stockholm Royal Seaport area, Värtahamnen, where many of the city’s port areas are located, is one of Sweden’s most exciting urban development projects. Rebuilding work at Värtahamnen to make this a port to meet the needs of the future is one of the first stages in this new port district development. The rebuilding of the port will take place in three stages and is expected to take around five years. Construction begins once all permit approvals have been obtained.
“The Port of Kapellskär is being modernised to fulfil market demands, improve safety and security, and facilitate modern and environmentally friendly methods of operation. A new pier will be built that is long enough to allow larger vessels to call, the harbour basin will be deepened and land areas expanded to optimise traffic flow at the port. The time schedule for the project will be finalised once we have all of the necessary permit approvals. It is estimated that construction will take around two and a half years.
“Strömkajen, with its unique location opposite the Royal Palace, was built in the 1860s. Many Stockholm residents and tourists take boats from here to the archipelago, or for sightseeing trips around the city. Due to isostatic uplift, the quayside’s foundations were gradually deteriorating. We are therefore rebuilding the quay to improve future safety, aesthetics and accessibility. Renovation completion is expected by the summer of 2013.”
This huge proposal will see Stockholm’s ports transformed into world-leading destinations for both cargo and passengers. It was also enough to see Ports of Stockholm Group win the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) award for Best Port in 2011. Judged on the theme of ‘Social Integration of Ports’, judges looked at 17 innovative projects across the continent and saw that Hamnvision 2015 best met the criteria; it particularly commended the comprehensive, multi-faceted and strategic approach it offers to Stockholm and its ports.
In 2011, Ports of Stockholm Group returned impressive figures for its business. A record 450,000 cruise passengers visited its ports, up nine per cent on 2010, making it the most popular cruise terminal operator in the country. The total number of passengers of all types increased one per cent to 12 million. Meanwhile, despite global freight volumes dropping, Stockholm’s ports saw total turnover increase more than four per cent. These results can be attributed not only to the beauty of Stockholm as a tourist destination but also the authority’s capable, reliable approach to services.
Alongside Hamnvision 2015, to emphasise itself as a company ready to tackle the future, Ports of Stockholm Group has adopted a sustainability initiative based on three key principles. First is economic sustainability, ensuring both human and material resources are cared for in the long-term; second is ecological sustainability that will strive to reduce the ports’ impacts on land and ocean ecosystems as well as human health; and third is societal sustainability, to maintain the region’s social dynamics and diversity. This initiative will be worked on throughout 2012 and culminate in an audit at the start of 2013.
Ports of Stockholm Group has big challenges ahead of it but Johan is confident in what it can achieve for its customers and its region: “Our primary challenges are to develop new capacity quickly enough to both meet the growth needs of the developing Baltic Sea region, and to stimulate and contribute to the growth of the Stockholm region.
“Therefore our focus over the next five years is on the development of better port capacity. We want to be a stimulating factory. More passengers and cruise traffic are welcome as well as new flows of goods to this solidly growing region. Shipping is a very competitive means of transport with enormous potential.”