Senator Günthner: Our port planning expertise is cornerstone of Icelandic flagship project
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the Republic of Iceland already agreed some time ago to cooperate closely in the planning and execution of the Finnafjord port project. This cooperation has now entered a new phase: on Tuesday, (10 January 2017) Bremen’s Senate gave the go-ahead for the port management company bremenports to become a member of the development company for the port construction project. “bremenports’ expertise provides the basis for this Icelandic port development project,” commented Martin Günthner, Bremen’s Senator for Economic Affairs and Ports. “The agreement ensures that our port planning experts can market their maritime, technical and ecological expertise in an international flagship project.”
Project history: In May 2016, the Icelandic government signed a fundamental agreement with the municipalities of Langanesbyd and Vopnafjordur, the engineering company EFLA and bremenports. The objective was to plan and construct a multipurpose port in Finnafjord in the north-east of Iceland. In a previous agreement, bremenports had already been granted the right to market the results of the work and studies conducted in connection with the project.
“Both the Icelandic government and the general public regard the Finnafjord Port Project (FFPP) as the country’s most important infrastructure project right now,” said Günthner. “Shipping and logistics will increase significantly in this part of the world in future. Iceland consequently wants to profit from this trend and establish a new port on the central Arctic shipping route.” He added that bremenports’ involvement in Iceland would open up interesting prospects for Bremen’s economy to develop new business in the emergent logistics region at Finnafjord.
The business model for the Finnafjord port project initially envisages that the two municipalities will set up the Finnafjord Port Authority (FFPA), which will be responsible for granting licences, for instance, to port owner and operators.
“Comprehensive nautical and structural studies will be necessary before the project can make progress and these can only be conducted with external financial partners,” said bremenports Managing Director Robert Howe. The first talks with potential investors took place in 2016
The business model inclusive of franchise structure, which has to be developed by FFPD and approved by FFPA, is common practice in the port business. Investors are invited to support the detailed planning process for the port. The subsequent construction of the port facilities and port operations are then the sole risk of the investors.
FFPD, which is to be officially founded in the first half of 2017, will initially have four shareholders: the municipalities of Langanesbyd and Vopnafjordur, EFLA and bremenports.
“It has been ensured that the foundation of Finnafjord Port Development does not entail any obligation for either Bremen or bremenports to participate in the subsequent construction of the port or its funding,” said Howe.