In 2017, the Port of Kokkola was Finland's third largest general port in terms of transport volume. Foreign trade transport through the port amounted to 7,5 million tonnes, of which transit traffic accounted for about 4,4 million tonnes. Exports accounted for a significant share of the transport (74%). Transport volumes are expected to increase in the mining industry as well as transit traffic.
The Kokkola channel was previously deepened at the turn of the millenium, which resulted in an increasing number of Panamax and Capesize-class vessels calling at the port. The current maximun authorised draught limits the loading of the largest vessels by as much as 25 %, and because of this, some of the vessels cannot be loaded to their full capacity.
The joint project between the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and the Port of Kokkola comprises the dredging and depositing of soils in connection with deepening the current 13,0 m Kokkola channel, as well as the boyage work in the channel. This project will increase the channel depht to meet the requirements of a 14,0-metre maximun authorised draught. The planned safe clearance depht is - 16,2 m (N2000) in the outer parts of the channel and -15,7 m (N2000) in the inner parts of the channel and in the harbour basin.
The project will have a great impact on the accessibility of the Kokkola channel and on the transport economy of the goods transportet through the port. The deepening of the channel will improve the competitiveness of the Port of Kokkola and enable largest vessels to load to their full capacity. The increasing transport capacity of vessels will also reduce emissions from vessel traffic.
In the vicinity of the project area, there are several protected areas included in the Natura 2000 network and nature conservation areas, the state of which are monitored during the project in accordance with the water premit through waterway and fishery observations approved by the ELY centres.
The dredged soil generated during the project will be utilised in the construction work. The dredged spoils from the channel will be used as fill material when building the port field area which will reduce the need to transport fill material from elsewhere. Contaminated dredge sediments will be removed from the seabed and disposed of in the stabilisation basin of the port.
Procurements related to the Port of Kokkola project
The current 13,0-metre Kokkola channel starts 2,5 kilometres northwest of Kokkola lighthouse and continues west of the lighthouse towards the Port of Kokkola. The boyage in the channel comprises 41 aids to navigation.
The project and related procurements are located in the current fairway and port area. The outermost dredging sites are situated about 16 kilometres from the harbour, where all dredged spoils will be disposed of.
Schedule and costs
The project will be carried out from 2018 to 2020. The dredging contract will be put out to tender at the begining of the summer, and the contract is planned to commence at the end of the summer in 2018. During previous dredging projects in the area, explosives embedded in the seafloor have been found. Therefore, before the actual dredging operations commence, the Finnish Defence Forces will clear the area of any explosives detected during surveying.
The joint procurement cost of the Finnish Transport Agency and the Port of Kokkola is 63 million euro, of which
- the Kokkola channel deepening project costs amount to a total of 45 million euro. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure agency's share is 35 million euro, and the Port of Kokkola will account for 10 million euro.
- The total procurement costs related to the Port of Kokkola project amounts to 18 million euro.