”The timing was excellent”
Two years ago, a new shipping company saw the light of day. By combining innovation and consideration for the environment with great experience in shipping, WALLENIUS SOL has become an enabler for the Swedish and Finnish basic industry.
“INTEREST IN OUR Gulf of Bothnia service has been huge ever since our start-up in the spring of 2019, not only from Swedish and Finnish basic industries, but also from many other customers making major investments in the region,” says Ragnar Johansson, Managing Director of WALLENIUS SOL.
It’s not often that a new Swedish shipping line sees the light of day, but two years ago WALLENIUS SOL, a new Swedish shipping company was launched with the ambition of creating a long-term, sustainable infrastructure between the Gulf of Bothnia, the northern Baltic and the continent. The original idea was to offer primarily the forest industry regular, reliable and long-term transport of wood and paper goods to the south. Today there are three major forest companies on the customer list – Stora Enso, Metsä Board and Billerud Korsnäs – and several major industrial customers such as Wärtsilä and SSAB, have also been added.
“There’s been a huge level of interest and we’ve also attracted a lot of other customers to the system. What’s more, the timing was excellent. Since we began, a number of major investment decisions have been taken by industries around the Gulf of Bothnia, and this has generated business in the form of northbound shipments of equipment, machinery and construction parts.”
Metsä Board, which recently decided to build a pulp mill in Kemi, is a good example. Another is Northvolt, which is setting up a battery plant in Skellefteå. WALLENIUS SOL has already called at the Port of Skellefteå five times with shipments for the Northvolt plant, and more are planned. Since the end of February, WALLENIUS SOL also calls at Kokkola – Finlands third largest port and home to a great deal of industry.
As of 1 January this year, WALLENIUS SOL has five vessels in its system. Two of the ships are chartered and these will be replaced by two newly built vessels at the beginning of next year.
“Our focus in 2021 will be on generating more business and building volume. Our new vessels will be twice as big as today’s, so we have capacity to fill,” says Ragnar Johansson.
Eco-smart giants in the offing
Two RoRo vessels, each 241 metres long and with 35 metre beams, are currently being built for WALLENIUS SOL at the CIMC Raffles shipyard in China. They will run on LNG and enter service at the end of 2021. When the first vessel leaves the shipyard in China in the autumn of 2021, it will be the world’s first ice-rated RoRo ship running on multi-fuel, and with a dead weight of no less than 26,900 tonnes.