According to the company, the investment is the first step in a comprehensive plan for a major expansion of the facility to accommodate the repair and maintenance requirements of a number of new generation ships already operating on Baltic Sea and North Sea routes, as well as others under construction. Many of these ships are up to 240m in length, 35m in width and 9m draught, and cannot be handled using existing facilities at the yard.
The Swedish Transport Administration is currently preparing a feasibility study – set to be completed in the next few months – that will focus on the possible extension of the access channels around Landskrona. These currently allow vessels up to 190m in length and 30m width to transit, but with an exemption procedure that permits larger vessels to enter under certain conditions.
In the meantime, OHI is pressing on with a relatively minor extension of the existing dry dock, while also carrying out preparatory works for the bigger extension. Magnus Malmstrom, sales manager at Oresund Drydock, commented: “As a result of this initial extension we will be able to bring in a number of those vessels that are currently too large for the existing docks.” The investment in the first stage amounts to approximately SEK20 million (US$2.16 million) and the work will be completed in September 2019.
In addition to the extension of existing dry dock, future expansion plans include the construction of a completely new and much larger dry dock. This will be able to take ships up to 250m in length and 50m in width.
The investment is viewed as one of considerable strategic importance as OHI’s Landskrona facility is the only remaining large shipyard in Sweden. The investment will enable the company to continue servicing its key customers’ entire fleets and retain its market position in the Baltic and North Sea regions.
Last year was a very positive one for Oresund Drydock, which increased turnover compared with 2018 levels and achieved a dock occupancy rate of around 90%. As well as passenger ferries and ro-ro vessels, the yard docked a number of offshore vessels in the course of the year, marking a welcome return for this category of business.
One of the most notable projects for Oresund Drydock last year was the conversion of the catamaran fast ferry Betancuria Express, formerly known as the Leonora Christina. This included fitting an aluminium skeg aft of the vessel, the removal of the old car ramp and the transformation of part of the cargo deck space into a passenger area. The yard also refurbished the entire passenger deck, installed new crew cabins, upgraded the air conditioning and electrical systems and repainted the converted vessel in its new livery.