A new transport route by sea connecting Luleå in Sweden with the Baltics with will accommodate the increasing production of iron ore and provide an efficient alternative passage to the rest of Europe.
Some of the most important areas for mineral extraction in Europe are situated in the north of Sweden and Finland. The production of iron ore is expected to increase significantly over the next years and a major part of the production will be shipped by large bulk carriers to the steel mills of Europe. The capacity of the current transportation route, the railway link to Narvik in Norway, is expected to have reached its maximum within a few years. The alternative route, as regards capacity and availability, is by rail to Luleå and further by sea through the Baltic.
Extended ship capacity is needed
Environment and transport economy calls for larger ships requiring extended ship capacity in the sea routes, fairways and harbour facilities in Luleå. Every winter the Bay of Bothnia suffers severe ice conditions with heavy ice ridges at the entrance of the main fairway to Port of Luleå and therefore an alternative westerly sea route and archipelago fairway is required.The Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Transport Administration and Luleå Harbor AB are jointly leading the project. The purpose is to increase the capacity, availability and safety of the port.
Ramboll’s role is to perform an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project.
- Large areas are impacted by this extension and the environmental impact assessment is a very important foundation for decision makers and for the project and as a whole, says Mattias Bååth, Project Manager at Ramboll.
Studies of marine environment
Ramboll has been contracted by the Swedish Maritime Administration and collaborates with authorities, agencies, organisations, actors and the public during the execution of the project. In-depth studies of marine biology and sediment modelling are other parts of the assignment.
The so-called Malmporten passage will be excavated and dredged to accommodate large ships that are around 50 meters wide, 300 meters long and 15 meters deep. The loading capacity of these vessels is around 160,000 tonnes, a significant increase from the current maximum of 55,000 tonnes. The contractors are also investigating the possibilities of expanding the on-land port area in Luleå.
Port of Luleå has been selected by the European Union as a “strategically prioritised port” and hence receives funding from the EU.