Kemi, Oulu and Tornio – heart of Northern Finland’s industry

Jan 28 2018

Kemi, Oulu and Tornio – heart of Northern Finland’s industry

Last week, Bogdan Oldakowski, Secretary General of BPO, paid a visit to most of the Northern Finland’s ports. The goal was to learn more about the specific conditions these ports operate under, as well as to discuss the challenges they are facing and their development plans. The trip included Ports of Kemi and Oulu, members of the BPO, as well as the Port of Tornio – an industry port for Outokumpu.

In Port of Kemi, located in the Bothnian Bay and recognized as the gateway to the Barents Region, our SG met with Kemi’s Managing Director, Jaakko Rantsi. Among the topics discussed where Port of Kemi’s comprehensive status, and the importance of planning its future role within the transport network.

The port itself, nestled a fair distance from the town, enjoys an excellent connection to land transport infrastructure and easy access to sea routes. ice-breaking and towing services in winter guarantee that the shipping routes remain accessible throughout the year. The port is busy with handling and storing transshipment paper product, dry bulk, oil, chemicals and general cargo.

During the visit to the Port of Oulu, our SG had the chance to talk to Marko Mykkänen, the port’s Managing Director. He mentioned the port’s current digitalization efforts and expressed interest in BPO’s contribution to the concept.

The Port of Oulu, also located in the Bothnian Bay, can be viewed as a highly universal entity. Situated next to the Stora Enso plant, a leading producer of paper products for the Finnish market, the port profits from the export of paper products and import of various chemicals. The port also handles liquid fuels and forest industry raw materials.  

The port has huge development plans to guarantee an expected significant increase of volumes linked to the industry development in the region.

Port of Tornio sits at the very top of the Baltic Sea. The visit began with a meeting with Pekka Harjuoja, Tornio’s Port Manager. The Port is a part of a huge industry complex. Due to the proximity of the Outokumpu industry site, Finland’s leading producer of high performance stainless steel and ferrochrome, the port enjoys an in-flow of coal and coke and export of steel products.

The mill in Tornio is regarded as one of the most cost-efficient of its kind. It also profits from backward integration thanks to Outokumpu’s own chromite mine situated near Kemi.

When in Tornio one simply has to come by the Manga LNG Terminal. Along Mika Kolehmainen, the terminal’s CEO, our SG had the chance to take a closer glimpse into the intricacies of operating an LNG receiving terminal in the Nordic region. Fitted with a 50,000m3 storage tank, the site includes complete ship unloading, full containment LNG storage, LNG truck loading, ship bunkering as well as regasification and natural gas send-out facilities.

Our SG, Bogdan Ołdakowski, said after the visit: “Finnish northern ports have a huge role in providing logistic services for industries located in Northern Finland. Development and maintenance of fairways leading to these ports, especially during the winter time, is very important.  It is amazing how smoothly these ports operate considering the harsh polar conditions they have to deal with on a daily basis”.

The harsh environment left a vivid impression. Since thick layers of ice and snow cover every inch of the landscape, icebreakers are a permanent element of the picture. It is worth noting, that it is the Finnish Transport Agency’s duty to assure icebreaker assistance in Finnish waters. On the other hand, assistance in port areas remains the responsibility of the ports in question.