Global collaboration ensures new Swedish terminal opens on time for the arrival of the first vessel call

The world’s newest international container terminal is open for business at Hutchison Ports Stockholm following the inaugural call of the first container ship at Sweden’s premier port.

Unifeeder vessel SCA Tunadal became the first container ship to arrive at Stockholm Norvik Port on 27 May and unloaded 119 containers while at berth. The container terminal is now open, both for vessel calls and for shore-based business operations at the port.

The opening of the terminal, during a global pandemic, is the result of close collaboration between Hutchison Ports business units from around the world, who worked with their colleagues in Stockholm on terminal planning and infrastructure, equipment installation and IT support.

“The amazing commitment and energy invested by my colleagues to see this project through, shows the spirit and unity of Hutchison Ports, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when most of the world has been on lockdown,” said Lawrence Yam, CEO of Hutchison Ports Stockholm.

There were many examples of creative and innovative ways Hutchison Ports’ colleagues from around the world worked together to overcome the challenges they faced during these uncertain times. First, Group Engineers liaised with the equipment manufacturer division in Europe to ensure port equipment was installed and commissioned as engineers and technicians from port equipment supplier ZPMC were unable to travel to Sweden during the lockdown as the head office is located in China. In addition, Group Operations, Engineering and the IT department based in the Hong Kong headquarters, worked in real-time, using remote-controlled cameras at the new Stockholm terminal to provide live support to colleagues.

Hutchison Ports BEST terminal in Barcelona, Spain, provided remote control room operations for Stockholm’s terminal operating system, nGen, while electronic data interchange, commercial activities and terminal design were supported by ECT Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Staff at Hutchison Ports Gdynia in Poland provided vessel planning support while Hutchison Ports UK helped with the project management for the rollout of nBIS (new Billing Information System) and eBIS (enterprise Business Information Systems) including engineering support and equipment commissioning.

“The successful opening of Phase 1 of the terminal is testament to the tireless work of a group of dedicated Hutchison Ports professionals, who found new ways to deliver time-critical solutions despite unprecedented challenges posed by a global pandemic. It is something that we should make us all very proud,” said Yam.

“We are very pleased that this all took place in May as we have promised, despite these difficult and remarkable times. It is a fantastic effort by everyone involved to be able to have the first vessel here and we were able to unload the first container”, says Johan Wallén, Marketing Manager at Stockholm’s Ports.

Although it is early days for the new terminal, there has been strong support from customers according to Hutchison Ports.

“The feedback from the customers is positive and an even a pleasant surprise for us. We had a smooth start and productivity from day one was satisfactory. There are areas for a quick improvement, areas for fine tuning our processes and also time to gain some experience,” said Yam.

“We are not satisfied with settling for the current levels of service and we are focused on continuous improvements. Customers do see Norvik as a game changer to serve Sweden and the Baltic markets,” he said.

Hutchison Ports Stockholm has also retained all of its existing customers from the old terminal at Frihamnen, who have all moved to Norvik and Yam says that other shipping lines are considering new services, now they realise the benefits of the new terminal.

In other news, the first Green Cargo train arrived at Stockholm Norvik Port in June on the newly built industrial branch line. Ports of Stockholm built a four-kilometre branch line to connect Stockholm Norvik Port to the national Swedish railway network. It links Hutchison Ports Stockholm to the national rail network and the branch line is connected to the RoRo terminal operated by Ports of Stockholm.

Sustainability and reducing the number of long-haul truck movements were always a shared goal to Hutchison Ports and the Swedish government.

Yam also added that from customer service perspective rail connectivity has created many possibilities to serve major distribution centres near Stockholm.

“In addition, the rail connection enables us and customers to link the import business to export business via Norvik and perform further savings. We are encouraging our customers to capture this opportunity. There is always a mismatch of import and export locations in Sweden, and the rail connection at Norvik can easily link imports to exports. A win-win for our liner customers,” said Yam.

There is potential for Hutchison Ports Stockholm to expand its operations in Phase 2 of Norvik Ports’ development according to Yam. “It will take us few more years to fully utilise Phase 1 before we open Phase 2. When is does, we will double our capacity to 500,000 TEU with more equipment for both land and quay side services.

We will be taking on an even more important role for the port industry for both Sweden and the Baltic Sea. We have the capacity to expand and we are very excited about our future” he concluded.

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