Further Powering Up the Port of Fuglafjørður

Pages 68-69

A mainstay of the pelagic industry for many decades, the Port of Fuglafjørður continues to consolidate its position by adding new facilities and services, including boosting power supply capacity for vessels calling.

[Bui Tyril & Edmund Jacobsen]

2017 was by all accounts a very busy year for the Port of Fuglafjørður with some 1051 port calls, of which 218 were foreign vessels. The gross tonnage totaled 2.66 million for the year, and the throughput of 900,000 tonnes. Combined, the numbers represent a dramatically increased level of business activity for the Port of Fuglafjørður. The previous record is held by 2015, which saw 858 ship calls, 259 of them foreign, and a gross tonnage of 2.08 million. As for 2016, the number of port calls amounted to 771, whereof 198 foreign.

“We are pleased with the numbers,” said Port Director Rólant Højsted, “while at the same time we need to take into account that some unusual factors played a very significant role in these figures.”

One of the major reasons for the extraordinarily large number of vessels calling at the Port of Fuglafjørður stemmed from the regrettable fact that a fire destroyed the freezing plant at Tvøroyri. That incident generated a substantial spike in the number of pelagic vessels opting for Fuglafjørður for unloading their catch.

Regardless, Fuglafjørður is a long-established port of call for the pelagic fishing industry — home to the giant fishmeal, fish oil and feed factory Havsbrún, which came in the mid 1960s, alongside manufacturers, suppliers and service providers relevant to the industry, including, for example, freezing plant Pelagos, which opened for business in 2014, cold storage facility Bergfrost, bunkering station Effo, and fishing gear manufacturer Vónin, all located along the same stretch of quay.

“Now with things returning to normalcy at Tvøroyri, we expect a somewhat lower number of ship calls for this year [2018],” Mr. Højsted noted. “On the other hand, we had a very strong beginning of the year with quite a number of business during the first quarter. A rough estimate for the year would be just about the same number of port of calls as in 2015, which by all means was a very good year.”

As a former seaman himself with experiences from working on fishing boats and subsequently on merchant vessels, Mr. Højsted is well aware of the many natural and economic factors that may influence the port business.

“The Port of Fuglafjørður has a well established market position, and we are looking to build on that to further develop our infrastructure and services, as well as continuing to cultivate our network of business associates and friends everywhere. We believe this port has a great future.”

New power generator

With pelagic fisheries at the core of the port’s business, bunkering has also become one of the main sources of ship traffic. The only port in the Faroe Islands to offer heavy fuel for marine vessels on a commercial basis, Fuglafjørður has seen steady growth in this segment, which is largely driven by demand from international vessels.

Other core attractions, such as the recently expanded Bergfrost cold store and the brand new net loft and headquarters of gear maker Vónin, likewise contribute to the continued development of the port.

The Port of Fuglafjørður is a preferred port of call for many large foreign vessels, also for vessel-to-vessel transshipment, and indeed for using the excellent natural harbor as a place of shelter during rough weather.

Many of the foreign vessels are equipped with high capacity freezers that require a lot of electrical power, thus making it necessary to keep the main engines constantly running for power supply.

But with environmental regulations tightening to reduce emissions and likely soon as well to reduce noise levels, vessels will need more electricity supplies from ports.

“We welcome all appropriate regulation in this area,” Mr. Højsted said. “The need for power supply for many of these foreign ships will likely increase markedly, as they cannot just shut down their freezers, for example. Now, to boost our supply of electricity made available to vessels calling at the port, we’re considering to purchase a 500KW mobile power generator,  much based on our experience of hiring one.”

Mr. Højsted added that no decisions had been made yet as of this writing (May 2018).

“As a modern port we want to our customers’ needs to be catered to in the best possible way. At the same time we need to keep in mind the best interest of the local community that we represent. From that viewpoint, regardless of if or when any of these government regulations are introduced, it makes sense for the port to invest in that generator.”

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