June 26 - Iceland has outlined plans to build a new port in the Arctic Ocean, and will cooperate with planning experts at Germany's bremenports to make it a reality.
Traditionally, fishing has been the key element of Iceland's economic relationship with Bremen. But Iceland's president, Olafur Ragnar, wants the island to play a more important role in the logistics sector and is conducting in-depth investigations into the construction of a new port. Planning experts and maritime engineers at port management company bremenports have been asked to contribute to the Finna Fjord project.
Iceland has identified a number of reasons to construct a new port at Finna Fjord in the northeast of the country. Shipping is set to increase in the Arctic Ocean as climate change keeps the North-East Passage and North-West Passage navigable for large seagoing vessels for increasingly long periods of the year. This is an attractive development for shipping companies; the North-East passage almost halves the distance from China to Western Europe from approximately 11,000 nautical miles to 6,5000 nautical miles.
Also, oil and natural gas deposits can be located to the north and west of Iceland, and licences to mine mineral resources in Greenland have been granted to Asian companies. A new Icelandic port would be well positioned to serve companies looking to exploit these developments.
Iceland plans to build the port at a location that is free of ice year-round, thanks to the Gulf Stream ocean current. During the second half of 2012, the Icelandic company EFLA Consulting Engineers and bremenports drew up a letter of intent, which was signed by both partners and the two Icelandic local authorities at the port's planned location.
According to bremenports, the first stage of the process is to identify the feasibility and future viability of the port. The second is to analyse the location, geological features, environmental considerations, as well as political and legal questions posed. This will be followed by a market analysis and cost estimate.
"Our company has extensive experience of planning sophisticated port construction projects. The request for our cooperation at an early planning phase confirms our international reputation," commented bremenports technical director, Robert Howe. On completion of the preliminary examinations, a contract will be signed between Iceland and bremenports for the development of the new gateway.
"This is not only a great opportunity for bremenports, but also a first sign of further business potential. The protection of natural resources and the environment will be key features of the agreed cooperation," commented Martin Günthner, Bremen's senator for economic affairs and ports.