“This is an inspiring and varied position”
Pekka Hellström , B.Sc. (Tech), joined the Port of Helsinki at the beginning of May as Technical Director and a member of the Management Team.
The Port of Helsinki’s new Technical Director Pekka Hellström has previously spent a total of eight years as the Port’s development manager and a project manager at Vuosaari Harbour. As Technical Director, he is in charge of the maintenance and construction of the port’s structures, waterways, harbour areas and equipment, as well as traffic and land use planning.
“I’m excited by the varied nature of the tasks. This position provides a grandstand view of so many aspects of the port and surrounding city, and that really is inspiring,” says Hellström.
He wants to highlight the Port’s continuity to both customers and other port users by providing a stable operating environment.
About 30 people work for Hellström’s technical services in two different units. The Maintenance and Operation Unit is responsible for the systems and equipment required for repair shops and building electricity, while the Expert Unit plans and develops projects.
“There are many interesting projects going on at the moment. In addition to the fairway project, we’re working on a shore power system in the Helsinki South Harbour, an automooring project in the West Harbour, and the basic renovation of quays in the South Harbour and Hernesaari,” says Hellström.
Silo effects must be prevented
Hellström wants inclusive and effective dialogue within his unit.
“We need to prevent silo effects. I believe that a matrix approach is the best way to make progress in project work. I encourage people to discuss and deal with things together. I’m in no way living in an ‘ivory tower’. I’ve got a whole team of specialists who are a great asset to the port. My role is to give them what they need to do their work – work in which they embody the port’s best expertise.”
Hellström thinks that project management needs sharpening up a bit. A high level of transparency is required in ongoing projects.
“Projects need to be planned so that they keep to both the schedule and the budget. Schedules can often be delayed, which makes transparency important. During the early part of the year, we drew up new guidelines to improve investment process management. Mobilising them is now at the top of my to-do list,” he says.
Coronavirus has postponed planned projects
The coronavirus has forced the Port of Helsinki to reschedule some projects. In order to safeguard its financial and financing position, the Port has had to postpone planned projects in search of savings.
“On the other hand, this is a good time to carry out maintenance work on quay structures where vessel traffic has decreased. Under normal conditions, we sometimes have to dodge ships while we’re working on quays, buildings and tarmacs,” says Hellström.
“One good example is the interior renovation of Katajanokka’s K8 passenger terminal. Now is a good time to get it finished, as there hasn’t been any passenger traffic. The terminal will then be in good shape when passengers can once again start travelling by ship.”