A better shipping lane benefits the society

Published: 10/19/2016 8:28:59 AM

Today's shipping lane is narrow, full of bends and limited by wind and night time restrictions. Improved accessibility would relieve our congested roads and railways to the benefit of both its inhabitants, the environment and the economy. There are now plans for a new shipping lane that can accommodate bigger ships, and more of them.

The waterway traffic is expected to increase as the cargo handling in Södertälje and Lake Mälaren ports increases. There is also a demand to accommodate larger, more modern ship with a deeper draught than can be accommodated today. In 2014, Port of Södertälje, the City of Södertälje, the Transport Administration and the Maritime Administration presented an action-choice study indicating a need for increased safety measures in the shipping lane. And a year ago, the Transport Agency and Maritime Administration were commissioned to carry out an investigation in order to improve safety, increase capacity and the accessibility of the shipping lane between Landsort and Port of Södertälje.

What’s happening now?
The Maritime Administration has now completed its investigation and suggested the best route for the new shipping lane. In early October, the authorities and other concerned parties met for consultations before the establishment of the shipping lane will be finalized.

- The project involves about 1.5 million square meters of ground sediment being dredged, says Tomas Zackrisson, environmental manager at Port of Södertälje. Uncontaminated sediment is then dumped out at sea. Additional safety devices are to be improved with lighthouses, buoys and beacons along the entire length of the shipping lane.

It is planned that future ships with a maximum draft of 11.5 meters, instead of the current 9 meters, will be able to use the new shipping lane. The maximum width will continue to be Panamax, about 32 meters, and the maximum length of 220 meters without night time restrictions. Today, traffic is limited to 160 meters without restrictions and 200 meters, with restrictions. The Maritime Administration will make their ruling on the establishment of a new shipping lane after the government has given its go-ahead.

- Here at Port of Södertälje we look forward to a government decision regarding the shipping lane, concludes Tomas. If the government believes that the project is feasible, the Maritime Administration will then seek permission for the planned measures through the Environment Court in Stockholm.

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