Stockholm opens new quay and prepares for OPS this summer
Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience was the first to call at Stockholm’s new quay F655 on May 20 2022. The official inauguration took place on June 21 with Oceania Cruises’ Marina alongside.
The new quay at Frihamnen in the heart of the city is 330m in length and will allow more capacity for turnarounds. There is ample space to facilitate arrivals and departures for buses and taxis at the quayside. A temporary tent acts as the terminal when needed.
Stefan Scheja, manager cruise and ferry Ports of Stockholm, says: “During 2022 we had 16 calls to the quay and for 2023 we, today, have 14 calls booked at F655, a lot less than expected, but an effect of the Ukraine war.
“We haven’t seen the benefit of the quay yet because, for example Costa had 17/18 turnarounds this year and next but, due to the situation, they have changed their plans.”
Indeed calls generally are down in Stockholm this year and last. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there were over 300 calls booked for 2022 but the resulting number was 205. Scheja is keen to point out, however, that a positive that has arisen for Stockholm is that a lot of companies chose to stay extra nights last year. For example there were 87 overnight calls, 10 calls for two nights and five for three or more.
“This has been a great benefit for Stockholm and cruise tourism, giving passengers the possibility to explore more of Stockholm, everything from our history to culture and enjoying delicious food,” explains Scheja.
For this year the hope is for similar call numbers to 2022 but he explains: “We are still seeing changes to itineraries and they are coming close in, not one year but just one month ahead for cancellations.”
Another plus for the port is that it is due to be one of the first in the Baltic to supply onshore power (OPS) when it goes live at quay S167 in Stadsgarden this July/August. A second facility at S160 is planned to be ready for the 2024 cruise season.
The total investment is SKr120 million (€10.6 million), of which about 40% is being covered by subsidies from the EU and The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Scheja comments: “We hope to start testing connections in the summer and after that have ships connecting on a regular basis. Despite the tough times of the pandemic and now the Ukraine war, this is a top priority for ports. The EU’s *Fit for 55 [introduced in July 2021] has also meant we, along with five to six other ports in the Baltic, are applying for further funding.
“I think it is very important to provide a good product in a sustainable way. We are very proud of what we are doing here in Stockholm. Everyone is eager to connect and I think most of the cruiselines will do so, which is a good advertisement for their customers, for the industry generally and for the company, for sure, to spread the message.”
Finally he hopes that the energy crisis will improve so that the prices for connecting to this 100% fossil-free power whilst in port will be more comparable to the fossil fuels being burnt on board.
*From January 2030, ships staying for more than two hours in a port would have to connect to OPS, unless they used another zero-emission technology.