Skandia Gateway: four key facts about Sweden’s largest port infrastructure project
In five years the Port of Gothenburg, the Swedish most important harbour, will become larger and deeper with more and more ultra-large container ships calling at its terminals. Such a result will be achieved due to implementing the Skandia Gateway project, which is the most massive investment for the country’s port industry. What is this campaign dedicated to?
Fifteen years ago when Maersk launched its Emma Maersk container vessel, which was the world’s largest one at that time, the capacity of around 11,000 TEU allowed the shipping lines to operate the ultra-large container ships (ULCS). Now, this term is more and more used for identifying the vessels with a capacity of more than 20,000 TEU while the ships being able to carry between 10,000 and 20,000 TEU are considered as very large container ships (VLCS). Such a significant transformation of the shipping industry forces the ports and terminals to keep pace with the times and adapt their infrastructure to the new requirements. And the Port of Gothenburg is among them.
Into the deep
In 2017 the Port of Gothenburg Authority together with the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Maritime Administration started the Skandia Gateway project in 2017. It is dedicated to deepening the six-kilometre-long section of the fairway from the current 13.5 metres down to 17.5 metres. Moreover, the existing facility and 1.2 kilometres of quays at the Skandia Terminal will be reinforced. More than 12 million cubic metres of spoils will be excavated and transported to a designated water area off the island of Vinga.
Currently, the Port of Gothenburg can’t handle the fully loaded ultra-large container ships at its quays. They should be partially unloaded with the help of the feeder vessels. This creates a significant obstacle for the future development of the Swedish port, which was designated as one of five country’s core harbours. Therefore, the dredging project is a vital need for both port and the country. “By deepening and broadening the fairways we can assure Swedish industry and Sweden as a nation that direct shipping will continue. Direct calls allow the largest cargo vessels to enter the port fully loaded. Not only is this measure sustainable, it also ensures the future development of the cargo fleet,” the Port of Gothenburg Authority stated.
At the project start, the cost of the Skandia Gateway was estimated at around 3.9 billion kronor (around 385 million euros). Afterwards, the amount was reduced to 2.5 billion kronor (around 247 million euros). The price reduction was caused by the adjusted volumes of the construction works. “The scope of the project has been adjusted to strengthen only one of two quay locations and that a more efficient calculation method regarding geotechnics has resulted in a lower construction cost,” the Port of Gothenburg Authority added. The cost of the project is shared equally between the Port of Gothenburg and the Swedish Maritime Administration / Swedish Transport Administration. The City of Gothenburg as the owner of the port authority will fund 1.255 billion kronor (around 124 million euros).
Step by step
Despite the Skandia Gateway project was launched in 2017, it’s too early to talk about its completion. In June 2018 the Swedish government included into the national infrastructure plan for the ten-year period, 2018-2029. In December of the past year, the project reached an important milestone as the permit application, including an environmental impact statement, was submitted for review by the Land and Environmental Court. As for the dredging and construction works, they will begin in December 2024 and will last until December 2026 when the project will be ready.