Christian Ramberg is confident about the future of the Port

Long-time Managing Director of the Port of Turku Christian Ramberg retired on pension at the end of September. Christian Ramberg was at the helm of the Port of Turku since the year 2000, and during that time a number notable reforms were implemented in the Port, and the port operations were developed in many ways. In addition to the operations of the port enterprise, the development was promoted by shipping companies, logistics companies, and other partners – without forgetting the City of Turku.

”Let’s keep Turku on the map and the gate to the west open”, Christian Ramberg urges.
Port strengthened its position as a transport hub

Of the important events during his term as the Managing Director, Christian Ramberg mentions the Port’s strengthened position within the European transport system and the development of both cargo transports and passengers traffic, enabled by the renewed stock of vessels.

”The Port of Turku has always been Finland’s centre of traffic to and from Scandinavia, and in the 2000s it further strengthened its position. The most important factors affecting the positive development are the fast connections offered by our routes, renewed stock of vessels in our liner services, and inclusion in the TEN-T core network that compiles the traffic flows within the EU. Thanks to new vessels, the cargo and passenger capacity on the Port of Turku’s main routes has increased and will continue to do so”, Christian Ramberg says.

Alongside the Scandinavian traffic, Mr Ramberg wants to remind about the Port of Turku’s connections to Continental Europe. In the TEN-T core network the Port of Turku is part of the traffic corridor extending from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, with Turku located in the axis between Stockholm and St. Petersburg. In addition to the connection via Sweden to the rest of Europe, the EU markets are also served by the Port of Turku’s liner connections to Germany, all the way to the major ports of the North Sea.

Cargo and tourism continue as cornerstones of transports

”In cargo transports, the trend is best indicated by the fact that today highly processed industrial products pass through the Port instead of bulk cargo. Particular increase can be observed in project shipments of the heavy industry that require careful load handling, and the Port has made significant investments in the services they need. As a result of the change in the type of cargo, plenty of modern logistics premises for goods handling and warehousing have been built in the Port together with major logistics industry players. As for passenger traffic, the biggest change was effected by the new, environmentally sounder vessels. Fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), Viking Grace started operations between Turku and Stockholm in 2013, and the new Viking Glory, which also uses LNG as fuel, is set to start on the same route in 2021. Together with Tallink Silja’s modern vessels they form a definite competitive advantage for the Port of Turku when combined with our unique archipelago”, Christian Ramberg commends.

Focus on environmentally sound operations and digital services

During Christian Ramberg’s term as the Managing Director the environmental impacts of port operations were emphasised, and the Port worked in determined fashion to promote sustainable port operations.

”The first fixed reception points for waste water from vessels were built already in the 1980s and the newest ones in 2016. As a result the Port of Turku is able to forward the waste water from all vessels calling in the Port directly to the City’s sewer network. Environmental port charges were introduced in 2006, and the Port’s own energy consumption has been reduced in many ways. The most recent contribution to the Port’s environmental work was the decision to discontinue the disposal of dredging masses in the sea. All operations are guided by a certified environmental system.”

In recent years, the Port of Turku has taken the first steps in the digitalisation of its operations. Concrete measures include the new gate system in the West Harbour and the order for an automatic mooring and unmooring system that anticipates the arrival of the new Viking Glory.

”Digitalisation enables faster and more flexible service as well as further improvement of port security. By combining goods and data flows it increases the cost-efficiency and operational reliability of logistics. As for digitalisation, we need to remember, however, that it’s a means and not an end in itself. Ultimately the same fundamentals stand in logistics as before: logistics work when the right goods are in the right place at the right time. As digitalisation can help to achieve that goal it is worth investing in”, Christian Ramberg stresses.

Port of the future will serve as Turku’s display window

Christian Ramberg believes that twenty years from now the Port of Turku will be very different from what it is today. That is also the goal of the letter of intent on the development of the port area signed last year by the Port of Turku, City of Turku, Viking Line and Tallink Silja.

”Port operations have been run in Turku for more than 800 years, so the port has become a natural element of the everyday life of the inhabitants. The letter of intent provides unique opportunities for strengthening that bond, when a new seaside district will rise near the Port, and with proper implementation it will make Turku more pleasant for its inhabitants as well as making the city more attractive to tourists. Two decades from now the Linnakaupunki district will have been completed and the Museum of Finnish History will have been opened next to the Turku Castle. The first passenger vessels will utilise the noiseless and emission-free hybrid technology, and car traffic will flow smoothly and safely from the port area to roads. It may seem like a faraway vision, but the past two decades have shown how the progress is continuously picking up speed. It is in the interest of the City of Turku, Port of Turku and the inhabitants of Turku to remain on the leading edge of that progress”, Christian Ramberg reminds.

Text: Kari Ahonen
Photo: Aija Kallio