Loviisa has plenty of capacity for bioenergy
Last year, traffic through the Port of Loviisa increased in terms of both net sales and tonnage. “The strongest growth was seen in transit traffic, which more than trebled on the previous year,” says Tiina Vepsäläinen, Managing Director of the Port of Loviisa.
Although foreign traffic at the Port of Loviisa remained on par with the previous year, there was growth at the domestic terminal and its operations have been a good addition to the port’s business.
“These days, the port should no longer be seen as solely serving foreign traffic,” says Tiina Vepsäläinen, Managing Director of the Port of Loviisa.
Last year, cargo traffic at the Port of Loviisa totalled 795,000 tons, of which foreign traffic accounted for 748,500 tons and domestic traffic 46,500 tons. The port’s net sales rose to EUR 1.5 million during the same period, representing growth of eight per cent on the previous year. The majority of this growth came from coal, which trebled in volume, although there was an increase in other transit traffic as well.
Vepsäläinen says that Loviisa is efficient and flexible on account of its small size.
“It’s much easier to make changes at a small port, and this flexibility gives us a clear advantage. We also have competitive pricing, thanks to having a smaller organisation than larger ports. However, we can still provide exactly the same operations.”
Vepsäläinen thinks that Loviisa is excellently situated.
“We’re not part of the expensive capital-city infrastructure – we’re just a little bit outside of it, yet still close enough. We’re highly accessible; we have a good fairway, good road connections and an effective railway connection.”
Significant growth in exports of recycled scrap metal
The Port of Loviisa’s main exports are sawn timber, coal/anthracite and cereals. Cement is its main import.
Last year saw considerable growth in the export volumes of products such as recycled scrap metal. The port’s flexibility paves the way for customers to engage in efficient circular economy business.
“As a small port, we’re able to provide the exact services desired by our customers. Customers can reduce piece sizes at the port, which generates added value for logistics,” says Vepsäläinen.
“Quick changes to meet a customer’s wishes are only a phone call away.”
“As a port operator, we also have the potential to be flexible. Quick changes to meet a customer’s wishes are only a phone call away. Compare this to a large port in which you’d have to go through a list of procedures in a long organisational chain,” says Martti Sajama, CEO of Lovisa Forwarding & Stevedoring (LFS), which operates out of the Port of Loviisa.
“We transport woodchips, which are vital for recycling, and also scrap iron.”
The pricing and availability of containers is a topic of debate at the Port of Loviisa as well.
“A lot of sawn timber is now transported in containers and, if container cargo prices rise or there’s a shortage of containers, sawn timber may be transferred back to traditional breakbulk transport. This would create an alternative route for sawn timber,” says Vepsäläinen.
Loviisa can also provide bulk capacity when there are disturbances in the container market. The port has successfully sent large bulk shipments directly to China and Saudi Arabia.
A railway to the port
Hinterland traffic (the road section of rail traffic) accounts for up to 40 per cent of the Port of Loviisa’s total traffic.
“This is an exceptionally large proportion of the port’s total traffic. It’s also our aim to increase this mode of transport over the coming years,” says Vepsäläinen.
She says that the environmental friendliness of rail transport is also increasing its value.
“At the moment, rail transport is mainly used for coal and in the mechanical forestry industry.
Another one of Loviisa’s strengths lies in its good storage possibilities. There’s about 55,600 m2 of warehouse space in the port area. A variety of special bulk products, such as cereals and other raw materials, can be stored indoors,” says Vepsäläinen.
“We can offer both bulk storage and a covered area for goods that need to be protected from the rain. There’s no heated warehouse, but such storage is rarely available at a port like ours anyway.”
Environmental issues generate business
Growth in the circular economy and new energy solutions will also bring traffic to the Port of Loviisa.
“That’s what we’ve been investing in. We’ve applied for environmental permits that will enable us to engage in recycling activities, such as processing products to facilitate logistics. We see new forms of energy as an extremely interesting product segment.”
The use of rail connections is expected to increase at the Port of Loviisa.
“We have the opportunity to increase rail transport, and I would also like to see Loviisa grow into some kind of service location for recycled materials and bioenergy. As a consequence of carbon-neutral targets, power plants will be increasing their use of bioenergy and Loviisa could play its part as a delivery site,” says Sajama.
In accordance with Finland’s climate objectives, the use of coal in energy production will end in May 2029 at the latest, and incentives are being given to energy companies to make investments that will replace coal by 2025 at the latest.
“No matter what solution is eventually chosen, there’s still a lot to do. Various forms of energy and subterranean water tunnels have already been developed, but they may not be sufficient, so there’s also work for us to do,” says Sajama.
“We’re following developments in various forms of energy with interest, and we believe that there will be demand for our logistics services in this segment as well. The volumes are large, but we have the capacity,” says Vepsäläinen.