Port of Kaskinen will use digitalisation to hone efficiency
WHEN IT COMES to handling pulp and other forest products, Port of Kaskinen in southern Ostrobothnia is probably the most efficient port in Finland. This fact is something that is acknowledged by customers and even other port operators. The main reason why the port is so efficient is that it was initially built as a fully functional port away from city congestion. The port has been designed so that goods can move quickly between different modes of transport, storage facilities and vessels.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the port’s operations. The year 2018 was a record year with 330 ships calling at the port. During that year, the total volume of goods for the forest industry coming through the port amounted to 1.1 million tonnes, which accounted for approximately 80% of the port’s total shipping activities.
“During 2019, we will break the record again. Pulpwood, for example, is a significant type of cargo that arrives at the port on its way to the nearby Metsä Board chemo-thermomechanical pulp mill”, says Patrik Hellman, CEO at Port of Kaskinen.
ALTHOUGH THE PORT is dependent on the general fluctuations of the economy, the management firmly believe in the future and are already making several large investments. Recently one of the quays was extended by 50 metres to make room for bigger ships. Presently, the port has one vessel on a regular route, while the rest of the shipping consists of tramp vessels arriving to fetch grain, wood pellets, peat and scrap iron for recycling. In turn, they bring fertilisers, fodder, lime and chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and lye.
“We are the only Finnish port that can store peroxide directly in the harbour area. We are also the westernmost port in Finland and one out of only two that can unload goods wagons directly from a hopper station in the harbour area. The railway connection is of the utmost importance for us.”
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS among customers is increasing. Owners of vessels equipped with a scrubber system, for example, are starting to ask for possible port fee discounts. Discussions with the five specialised port operators at Port of Kaskinen on how to further improve environmental values are ongoing.
“Although we follow national and EU regulations, our overall aim is to continuously strive to develop our level of sustainability further. Our long-term strategic plan contains several measures that will make us considerably more efficient in the future.”
One thing that will make Port of Kaskineneven more efficient is the digitalisation of the entire port logistics administration, including the handling of necessary shipping documentation. The port has close cooperation with Metsä Group and is continuously discussing improvements with them.“There is an old saying that ships rot in port. Traditionally, vessels spend 30% of their time berthed. Shortening the time spent in port will have a tremendous impact on freight efficiency, the environment and the economy.
”PORT OF KASKINEN intends to become the most desirable port among its target customers. To achieve this, the port’s long-term strategic planis aimed at substantially increasing the level of automation in port operations.But that’s not all! The port also aims to almost double the quay length to 2km, since the trend today shows that ships are becoming bigger all the time.
“Our location is very favourable. We are easily accessible by sea, road and rail and you don’t need to pass through the city at all, which is the case with most other ports. The entire 14-hectare port area was originally planned and prepared as an industrial area for different types of activities. In 2020, a new industry and port customer are planning to move to this industrial site. And since we are the westernmost port, there is no archipelago to pass through, so ships are on the open sea as soon as they leave port”, Hellman concludes.