Uusikaupunki invests in logistic services for the port of Hepokari
The port of Hepokari in Uusikaupunki is a key link in the logistic chain of the region’s industry. Cargo traffic through the harbour is import-intensive and dominated by metals, raw materials used in feed, and soda. Cars are the main exports. At present, Hepokari handles some 200,000 tonnes of freight annually. As new industrial projects in the region progress, the volumes of both imports and exports will grow rapidly and entirely new products will be included. The harbour is preparing for this growth by increasing its storage capacity.
Investment tailored to the needs of business
Hepokari is the most important of the five components that make up the Port of Uusikaupunki. The Port also includes Yara’s industrial harbour, which operates under a separate agreement, the city’s two fishing harbours, and space for 1400 small craft in various parts of town. Apart from office and terminal buildings, the port of Hepokari has eight storage facilities with a combined area of 14,000 sq. metres. The storage facilities are leased to the port operator Stevena, which manages customer relations with industry. The next major investment at the port will be a 6000 cubic metre tank for use by Finnprotein Oy’s production plant for soybean oil. The tank will be completed in autumn 2013 and will cost around a million euros. According to Port Director Esa Soini, the building project is part of an investment strategy with which the city supports regional business.
“The port was built to meet the needs of industry and it is also being developed with the aim of attracting new, harbour-dependant industry to the region. The soybean oil plant is a good example of this, as is the arrival in Uusikaupunki of Stemcor, an international steel and raw material trader,” explains Soini.
“We build storage facilities for specific purposes. We concentrate on structures that are durable and hygienic. We can offer appropriate facilities for storage of both unit goods and bulk products,” he explains.
Stevena is an important partner
Stevena Oy, a subsidiary of the Backman-Trummer Group, has been the port operator at Hepokari since 1998. The volumes handled by the port have multiplied in that period and Hepokari now employs eight dockworkers. In investment projects the Port of Uusikaupunki cooperates closely with Stevena and the Mantsinen material handling machine acquired for Hepokari two years ago was also a joint investment by the partners. Esa Soini considers Stevena’s role in developing the port crucial.
“From the beginning, our cooperation with Stevena has been excellent. We’ve cooperated closely all along in developing the port and the fact that all our investment projects have been productive from the start is proof of this,” he stresses.
Hepokari’s prospects are bright, although delays in town planning for the port area pose a challenge for growth. Also, conversion of the Port Authority into a corporation at the beginning of next year will pose challenges of its own for operations. Soini takes a calm view of discussion regarding possible reductions in the number of ports in Finland and the subsequent concentration of traffic.
“Matters like this ought not to be decided by government, but in the final analysis by the customers themselves. Nowadays businesses consider their logistic solutions carefully and require providers to make bids for them. In the end, the viability of a port depends on how it fares in such competition,” he argues.