The Port of Pori on the west coast of Finland is a true general port. All kinds of cargo is loaded and unloaded in the Mäntyluoto and Tahkoluoto harbours of the Port of Pori.
In Mäntyluoto dry bulk, scrap metal, sawn timber, project cargo and containers are handled. There are also ro-ro (roll- on/roll-off) facilities. In Tahkoluoto there is a deep harbour for dry bulk and chemical harbour for chemicals and oil products. New cargo flows are also emerging. The newest breakthrough is the handling of soya beans. Tahkoluoto harbour was chosen as the soya unloading port. The soya processing plant is situated on the coast 70km south of Pori. There are other ports available much nearer the plant but, in this case, the Port of Pori was chosen as it offers economies of scale. The port has excellent infrastructure, and great expertise in handling large vessels.
Port director Jaakko Nirhamo notes that there is less than a year to get ready for the new sulphur regulations, which will come into force in the Sulphur Emission Control Areas — including the whole Baltic Sea area. The Port of Pori has decided to tackle the economic disadvantages of the sulphur restrictions by using the strengths of the port itself. These strengths include its excellent infrastructure and expertise in handling large vessels. “It’s all about energy-efficient transport solutions,” summarizes Nirhamo. Energy efficiency can be increased by using larger vessels with full loads. In Tahkoluoto deep harbour, the depth of the fairway is 15.3 metres, the same depth as the Danish Straits. This means that all vessels that can pass through the Danish Straits can call at the Port of Pori. Every year, Capesize vessels call at Tahkoluoto deep harbour. In Mäntyluoto harbour there is a new 12-metre berth and fairway for Panamax vessels. For example, 3,500 TEU container vessels can be handled in Mäntyluoto. The average ship size is continuously growing in the Baltic Sea, but water under keel does not run out in the Port of Pori. Pori has the best ice conditions among the Finnish ports. Using the Port of Pori means less bunker consumption and lower bunker costs to the shipping companies. The Port of Pori has lots of potential to increase the capacity utilization rate.
The other factor besides vessel size in energy-efficient transport is full loads in both inbound and outbound directions. This is, in the first place, a matter for shippers and forwarders and their co-operation. The port can foster their objectives by offering infrastructure and services. The Port of Pori has competence of handling all kinds of cargo and all kinds of vessels. This approach makes it possible to serve different customer segments as clusters. This means that both raw materials and different semi-finished and end products can flow via the port. The port’s role as a landlord is also to enable companies to settle in the port area or the areas nearby and to help them to join the respective cluster.
Finland’s success story has been based on ‘cluster thinking’ since long before clusters were commonly known as sources of economic development and competitiveness. Both Finnish chemical and metal industries were developed to fulfill the needs of the forest industry. The forest industry cluster is still one of the major clusters in Finland. New clusters are emerging. The mining industry is expected to be one of the major props supporting the Finnish national economy in the long run. Among Finnish ports, the Port of Pori probably has the best prerequisites to serve this booming industry and the whole mining and metal cluster. Concentrates are handled in the Port of Pori on daily basis. Six to eight scheduled block trains transport concentrate from the port to the mills situated 50km inland from the port. In Tahkoluoto chemical port, raw materials for mining and metal industry are handled. Mäntyluoto harbour has the best lifting capacity in Finland. Mäntyluoto harbour is widely used in project cargo transports. Project cargo can also be transported in liner traffic. Two shipping companies offer container transport services. Ro- ro facilities can be utilized in handling of high and heavy cargoes.
The M20 Industrial Park operates in immediate vicinity of the Port of Pori, offering a unique opportunity to network within the metal and mining cluster. The area is one of the few industrial and logistics areas in Baltic Sea Region that still offers space for growth to both small and large companies right next to a well-functioning general port. The area is being developed into a junction with excellent traffic connections to all over Finland as well to Russia, Scandinavia and continental Europe. To ensure even better hinterland connections the Port of Pori is taking part in the Bothnian Green Logistic Corridor project, which is part-financed by the European Union (EU). The aim of the project is to connect northern Scandinavia’s raw materials with the markets in the Baltic Sea Region and Central Europe. The north-east connections play also an important role. New routes are emerging from the Norwegian Atlantic coast via Finland to Russia. This is partly due to sulphur regulations but mostly because of the changes in global trade flows. The Port of Pori had made a study of re-opening the Pori–Haapamäki railroad line, which would open a new route to the Finnish mining areas, but also a new route to Russia. Finland has deregulated its cargo transports in railroads according to the EU directive. Unlike Sweden, there is still only one railway operator in Finland. The monopoly in rail cargo transport between Finland and Russia will be dismantled. New methods of financing railroad infrastructure are also emerging. The field is open for new players and possibilities. In road connections, the Port of Pori wants to explore possibilities to extend the European route E14 or E16 to Finnish side and up to the Russian border. Now, for example, the E16 route from Northern Ireland via Scotland and Norway ends in the Swedish city Gävle situated on the opposite shore of Gulf of Bothnia. The Port of Pori would be a natural node and a starting point of the E14 or E16 extension in Finland.