The Icelandic government is forging ahead with its plans to build a new port on the Arctic Ocean and is seeking support from the port management company bremenports for the project. A delegation from the Federal Land of Bremen visited the site in May and could see for itself that the Finna Fjord Project is one of the most important projects for the future of the country: “President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson made it quite clear that his country has a keen interest in establishing a maritime partnership with Bremen and Bremerhaven,” said Martin Günthner, Bremen’s Senator for Economic Affairs and Ports, after a meeting with the Icelandic head of state.
Rising temperatures and increasingly long frost-free periods are causing the sea ice to melt. Iceland’s response to the steadily improving shipping conditions is to construct a new port. “The government in in Reykjavik hopes that the experts from bremenports will contribute their extensive experience in port planning, port management and marine environment protection to the project over the long term,” said Günthner.
The Senator added that in actual fact, the Finna Fjord Project in the north-east of the island offers enormous opportunities – for instance as a future base for installing and equipping oil and gas platforms, or as a port where natural resources from Iceland and Greenland can be stored, processed and prepared for onward transport. Finna Fjord is also a suitable location for search and rescue vessels as well as coastguard units and as a harbour of refuge, for example for cruise liners.
Another important fact, according to the Senator, is that the Finna Fjord project is not starting from scratch. “Over the last few years, investigations have been carried out – also with the help of bremenports – to establish whether it would be possible to construct a port on the fjord that is not only efficient, but which also satisfies stringent standards in terms of environmental protection and ecological sustainability. The soil conditions have been examined, meteorological stations installed and data from the meteorological records has been analysed.” Günthner announced that the findings of these initial surveys showed that the fjord was highly suitable for such a sophisticated project, “More than that: this is to be the first newly built port in Europe where the plant and equipment will run entirely on renewable energy.”
As the operator of four sea locks, 36 kilometres of quay and 230 kilometres of railway tracks at the ports, bremenports is the natural choice of partner for the Icelandic project, commented Robert Howe, Managing Director of the port management company. In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the government of the Republic of Iceland, two Icelandic municipal authorities which are involved, EFLA engineering company and bremenports, the parties confirmed their fundamental consensus to promote the development of a port at Finna Fjord. They agreed to set up Finna Fjord Port Development (FFPD), although the date of foundation has not yet been finalised. Amongst other things, FFPD will collate the results of the technical studies, draw up an investment plan and conduct invitations to tender aimed at attracting potential investors.
“If construction of the new port at Finna Fjord goes ahead, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen will neither fund nor operate it,” stressed Senator Günthner. “However, we wish to do all we can to provide support for our Icelandic partner during the complex planning process. This is an interesting overseas project for our port planning engineers which can generate significant earnings for bremenports.”