The deepening of the Rauma channel, which has been deepened to 12 metres, the extended container terminal and the improved container berth have been serving maritime transports since the end of last year. The deepening of the channel by two metres deeper enables more transport efficiency as cargo volumes can be doubled. The improved port area facilitates more efficient cargo handling before loading and after discharging. The opening ceremony was held on 26 April 2018, in the Port of Rauma.
“It is fantastic that we have finally completed this long-term project. The deepened channel significantly increases transport efficiency from the perspectives of both logistics costs and the environmental load. Functional connections by sea are vital to Finnish trade and competitiveness, as 80% of exports and 90% of imports are carried by sea”, said Kari Wihlman, Director General of the Finnish Transport Agency. “The project has been an interesting testing platform for new solutions regarding both building and the development of more intelligent maritime transport. More exact condition information helps clients to optimise their transports, while smarter aids to navigation placed in the channels increase maintenance efficiency.”
The deepening of the southern channel in Rauma from 10 to 12 metres commenced in 2016. The deepening operations, completed last December, were carried out during two open-water seasons. “This was our first time using data modelling for planning and implementing construction work in a fairway project. Thanks to this data, it was possible to follow the work progress in more detail”, said Project Manager Seppo Paukkeri, when describing the special features of the project.
The concern for the marine environment was the starting point of the project: “All the clean dredge spoils were deposited in the Järviluoto dredge spoil basin built in connection with the project. Building the dredge spoil basin was one of the largest separate subprojects. The contaminated soils were deposited and stabilised in a separate dredge spoil basin, separated from the marine environment”, said Paukkeri. During the whole project, the state of the sea area was monitored through extensive waterway and fishery observations. Follow-ups will be organised in 2018 according to the water permit terms.
Sea connections serve all Finnish trade and industry
The container terminal was extended at the same time as the Rihtniemi channel was deepened to 12 metres. “The projects supported each other and the now completed projects will significantly improve the competitiveness of the Port of Rauma. The investments will create a strong foundation for meeting the demands of global competition”, said Hannu Asumalahti, Managing Director of the Port of Rauma. “The capacity of the container terminal was nearly doubled (500,000 TEU), which significantly improves performance efficiency. In addition to the continuous 520-metre container berth, the port area for cargo handling has been extended by about four additional hectares. The investments of the port’s collaboration partners complement this whole project and support the loading of larger vessels in the future.”
The extremely successful cooperation between the parties involved in the project to coordinate work and traffic enabled safe and smooth vessel traffic during the project, and contributed to the fact that the channel could be taken into use slightly ahead of schedule.