Work has started on the first phase of a major port expansion plan at the Danish port of Fredrikshavn. Located in the north of Demark on the east coast, Fredrikshavn is a major ferry terminal for ferries to Sweden and is also used for imports of bulk materials and oil. The start of the expansion work was inaugurated when dredging started in March of this year.

“By the physical start-up, we’ve now reached a much-anticipated milestone," commented Mikkel Seedorff Sørensen, the Port of Fredrikshavn’s managing director. "Practically every single day, we’re met with questions about the development of the project; and it has been difficult to explain the work going on behind scenes to the public. Therefore we’ll now look forward to see the physical development of the construction”.

The work has started with the dredger, Magni R pumping sand both for the inland development area and for the foundation for the south pier. Approx. 10,000 cubic metres of sand are expected to be dredged every 24 hours and approximately 450,000 cubic metres of sand has been deposited for inland area. In addition, 80,000 cubic metres of sand has been deposited for the establishment of the south pier with much of this coming from the waters around the island of Læsø which lies close to the middle of the Kattergat. The Magni R is an upgraded trailing hopper dredger owned by Rhode Nielsen.

When phase 1 has been completed, a total of 2.5m cubic metres of sand will have been moved. The first phase of the expansion will comprise the creation of 330.000 square metres of hinterland area designated for industrial development along with 30.000 square metres that will comprise new wharf facilities. These new wharf facilities will be 600 metres long and initially they will have a water depth of 11 metres alongside but with the ability to dredge the depth to 14.5 metres when the requirement to handle larger ships is apparent.

This first phase of the development has been costed at DKK 571 million with some of this cost coming from EU funding. The plan is for the new port areas to be completed by the spring of 2018. The main contractor for this first phase of development is the Danish company Per Aarsleff A/S. In addition to the expansion of the port facilities there will be the construction of the north and south piers which will be rock protected sand structures. The south pier will be a stand alone structure whilst the north pier will be integrated into the port development work and will act as the outer protection wall for the newly created port area.

Scheduled to be started when the demand is required, Stage 2 of the expansion project will comprise a further 300.000 square metres of hinterland area and 20.000 square metres of new wharf facilities. This newly created wharf will have a length of 400 metres and again the water depth alongside will be 11 metres but with the option of future dredging to 14.5 metres. Also being created will be 200.000 square metres of area for the deposit of future dredging spoil.

The long term plan for the port development envisages a Stage 3 which will see the creation of a new 1000 metre long wharf with the depth alongside of 12 metres and with 50,000 square metres of adjacent land matched by a further 300.000 square metres of hinterland area for development.

On completion of the full project the Port of Fredrikshavn will have about 4,800 metres of new breakwaters plus the associated two breakwater heads constructed to seaward of the existing port limits plus around 2000 metres of new quay walls. The total cost of the development scheme is estimated at between €73 and €87 million and will include dredging of around 3million cubic metres of spoil for the development areas.

As part of the port development the Bunker Holding Group has announced it will build Denmark's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility in the port by 2017. To date vessels in Denmark have been provided with LNG delivered by tanker from Rotterdam. This new facility at Fredrikshavn will produce LNG for the maritime sector and whilst delivery to ships is likely to be by road tanker the possibility of re-fuelling ships at sea from the facility is a possibility.

"We expect growing demand for LNG in the coming years," said Peter Zachariassen, the Head of Physical at Bunker Holding. "LNG is part of the future and it is important for us to be at the forefront." This plant is reportedly being built at a cost of at least $33 million, with construction expected to start this autumn and last 18 months.

Kosan Crisplant A/S will design and deliver the LNG production plant and they say it has introduced into the market a fully automated emission-free plant for bunkering LNG for ships.

They will also supply the liquefaction plant.

"Producing LNG from the natural gas grid is a new area of growth for us and being allowed to organise a project with the strongest players in their respective fields is a dream situation for an engineering firm like ours," said Bo Larsen, Commercial Director at Kosan Crisplant.

Jens P. Buchhave, Managing Director, Terntank Rederi A/S, a company that has already invested in LNG-powered ships, commented: "Terntank takes a very positive approach to this initiative in the Port of Fredrikshavn. For quite some time now, we have been calling for some of the major bunker suppliers to take the initiative to provide LNG, and this new set-up fits perfectly into our strategy where we have already placed orders for four ships that will be fuelled by LNG."

By Dag Pike