bremenports has signed an agreement to enable the development of a deep-water port at Finnafjord in the north-east of Iceland, a long-term project which relies on shipping becoming more viable in the Arctic.
If the North-East Passage between Asia and the US becomes navigable all year round, the journey times between these continents will be reduced by more than two weeks.
In this scenario, Finnafjord would be strategically located as the hub for a universal port from which containers could be redistributed to different destinations.
bremenports will initially hold 66% of the shares in the newly-formed Finnafjord Port Development Company (FFPD) while EFLA, an Icelandic consultant company, will hold 26% and the remaining 8% will be held by the Icelandic municipalities. During the next stage it is expectable that FFPD will be joined by an investor.
In that connection, Robert Howe, managing director of bremenports, stated: “Climate change will lead to economic development in this region. It is of global importance that this development is based on very strict sustainability criterias.
“The Iceland partners and bremenports regard it as an absolute must that the plans for the Finnafjord port are designed to meet stringent ecological criteria throughout all phases of the project.”
According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the project covers the deep-water port, an industrial park for supplies to the port and for industrial/commercial activities and the development of infrastructure for the port and the planned industrial enterprises at the location, including electricity and water supply as well as road connections.
The evaluation and implementation of a duty-free and tax-free zone in connection with the operation of the port and industrial facilities is also covered in the agreement.
The parties agreed that full implementation of the project could take more than 40 years, the entire costs of quay construction are to be assumed by the concessionaires and that there are public infrastructure links which have to be closed between the infrastructure to be built by the concessionaires and the national road, energy grid, water and telecommunications grids.
The site for which plans are now to be drawn up is comparatively large and has space for the construction of 6 km of quays and the development of more than 1200 ha of hinterland.
The region is virtually uninhabited while the water in the bay is almost 20 m deep. The municipalities involved in the project have a total population of around 500. The fishing industry is the largest employer in the region.
The wave action on this side of Iceland is particularly low and the bay itself is afforded additional protection by a headland while the hinterland is flat, providing business locations for port-related industries which can be supplied with energy from renewable sources.
In view of the present increase in shipping traffic, there is already urgent demand for a search and rescue port for ships in distress. Other plans currently under consideration include the construction of a plant for the production of hydrogen, which could also play a key role in the development of sustainable shipping in the future.