A team comprising participants from Umeå and Vaasa has examined how the ports can be developed after the city of Vaasa is obligated to convert its port operation into a company by January 1, 2015 due to an amendment in the municipal legislation.
Traditionally, transport routes in the Nordic region have been in a north to south direction. There are currently many reasons to believe that future transport routes are beginning to adopt a west to east direction. At EU level, various forms of collaboration have been established under such denominations as Midway Alignment of the Bothnian Corridor, Comprehensive Port and Ten T-network.
On the Finnish side, the transport corridor across the Kvarken Strait received a great deal of attention when the team executed its assignment on behalf of the Finnish Minister of Transport in 2012. Amended environmental requirements for shipping in the Baltic Sea from the beginning of 2015 will radically change the traffic flows.
For Vaasa, the review of the port operations was necessary since the cities’ port operations must be converted into companies before the end of 2014. Umeå was the natural cooperation partner since the cities already maintain joint traffic across the Kvarken Strait with the joint-venture shipping company, Wasaline.
The ports in Vaasa and Umeå complement each other since Umeå is a traditional export port for wood-processing products, while Vaasa is an import port for solid and liquid fuel for energy production and traffic.
The ports of Vaasa and Umeå are strategically key links in the transport corridor that extends from Mo i Rana on the Norwegian Atlantic coast to St. Petersburg. Both ports are located outside the area for sulfur directives and will therefore increase in significance after the beginning of 2015.
Expectations of port activities
- Increased competitiveness – market situation for the ports of the Baltic Sea will significantly change since the EU intends to divert traffic away from roads to railway and shipping using environmental requirements
- Visibility in the EU’s logistics network for railway and shipping
- TEN T status key for future EU financing
- Reduced investment needs (avoid duplicate investments)
- Coordination of marketing/business development
- Economies of scale in production and administration
- Coordination of environmental goals and route planning in both cities
- Operational benefits, for example, safety/surveillance, cranes and equipment
Copenhagen and Malmö decided to combine the cities’ port operations into a joint company in 2001. The company, Copenhagen Malmö Ports Ltd, has now been in operation for 12 years. Their experiences were communicated by Lennart Pettersson, former Vice President of CMP Ltd, who was a consultant for the team.
Proposal for the formation of a company
A limited liability company has been proposed, with registered office in Umeå, share capital distribution 50/50. The Board of the company shall comprise an equal number of Finnish and Swedish members. Wasaline AB, which is registered in Vaasa and owned equally by Umeå and Vaasa, has three members from the Finnish side and three from the Swedish side. The proposal was submitted for political consideration and decision simultaneously in both cities in the spring.
Johan Lidsle, Special Expert, tel. + 00358 40 356 7860
Bertil Hammarstedt, CEO INAB, tel. +46 (0)70-675 68 60