Efficient and cost-effective icebreaker assistance is a critical factor affecting the competitiveness of Finland’s economy and foreign trade. It is the responsibility of the Finnish Transport Agency to provide the operating framework for winter navigation and to ensure effective year-round seaborne transports.
The Finnish icebreaking capacity will decrease in the next few years. In order to ensure sufficient capacity and provide cost-effective icebreaking services in Finland, the Finnish Transport Agency has ordered a new basic icebreaker. The icebreaker operations will be put out to tender.
“The new basic icebreaker will be owned by the Finnish Transport Agency. Our goal is that the business model adopted for the operations of the new icebreaker will enhance competition. The Finnish icebreaking operations were opened to competition already in 2004, but in practice the opened competition has neither created effective markets nor improved efficiency”, says Antti Vehviläinen, Director General of the Finnish Transport Agency.
Procurement of the icebreaker totals 123 million euros. The EU has granted the project 24 million euros, which significantly reduces the share financed by the state.
The icebreaker will be built by Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Inc. “We are very pleased with the opportunity to build the Finnish Transport Agency’s new icebreaker and thereby provide jobs for the Finnish maritime industry. The fact that this order was placed in Finland demonstrates Finnish arctic expertise and is of great importance for the whole shipbuilding cluster”, says Esko Mustamäki, Managing Director of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Inc.
The new icebreaker will be handed over to the Finnish Transport Agency by the beginning of 2016.
The icebreaker ordered by the Finnish Transport Agency has been planned by Aker Arctic Technology and ILS. It will feature the industry’s most advanced technology and it has been planned especially for operations in the most demanding icebreaking conditions in the Baltic Sea. The icebreaker will be able to perform oil spill response operations and emergency towing under demanding conditions at open sea both in winter and summer, and will therefore operate all year round to ensure safe seaborne transports in the Baltic Sea. The icebreaker will be powered by both diesel and LNG, i.e. liquefied natural gas, which reduces both emissions and fuel costs. The icebreaker will be the first LNG-powered icebreaker and its planned state of the art innovations promote Finnish arctic expertise worldwide.
Arctech, February 17, 2014