Freight terminal at Herøya – investigation of an exciting project
The steering committee for the freight terminal at Herøya. From the left: Kjell Ivar Maudal, Bane NOR, Sverre Gotaas, Herøya Industripark AS, Hanne Gro Haugland, Vekst i Grenland, Lene Rambekk, Herøya Industripark AS, and Bjørn Bryne, Per Ståhl and Ove Skovdahl from the Norwegian Railway Directorate.
The right conditions exist for a railway terminal for freight at Herøya Industrial Park, according to the Norwegian Railway Directorate and Bane NOR, which are investigating this together with the industrial park's hosts, Vekst i Grenland and Grenland Harbour. A socioeconomic analysis is a key element of this investigation.
“Herøya has previously had a freight terminal, and the right conditions exist for it to be re-established. The most important argument is to transfer freight from road to rail, which will give environmental and safety benefits,” emphasises Ove Skovdahl of the Railway Directorate.
Ove Skovdal heads the steering committee that is now investigating the feasibility of a terminal, and holds the main responsibility for a socioeconomic analysis that will answer the question of whether the project is of benefit to society and is worth continuing with. At around the turn of the year, the committee expects to have indicative answers to some of the elements in the analysis, such as profitability and various effects of the initiative.
Financing of the project is also a key topic for the steering committee. Here, there are three main models: state terminal, private terminal or a hybrid model with both public and private operators. “In a region and industrial park with many companies and stakeholders, the distribution of roles and responsibility is an important aspect of the project,” Ove Skovdahl emphasises.
Integrated into the industrial park
Ove Skovdahl highlights an element that makes the project particularly interesting.
“The special aspect is that we’re investigating a freight terminal that, if it is achieved, will be an integrated element of an industrial park with many businesses and a high freight volume. Here, there are exciting plans for autonomous handling of freight, including the Yara Birkeland project, and equivalent solutions could be established at a freight terminal,” he says.
From sea to rail
A freight terminal at Herøya will not only contribute to transferring freight from road to rail. Kjell Ivar Maudal at Bane NOR is also focused on the interaction between sea and rail.
“We can see freight being sailed to Herøya, and then transferred to rail, and vice versa. Interaction with local carriers will be important to achieving effective logistics,” Kjell Ivar Maudal emphasises.
Bane NOR’s role in the project is primarily to consider technical solutions, and they are now working on a draft design of the terminal area.
“We’re assessing a three-track solution: one for trains arriving and departing, and two loading tracks with a roadway between them, as well as a depot for storage of containers,” he explains. It must be possible to load the trains at a length of 450 metres, so that the area will cover a distance of around 600 metres.
Director Sverre Gotaas of Herøya Industripark AS is very happy that the Railway Directorate and Bane NOR have initiated the investigation. He believes that a freight terminal at Herøya Industrial Park will be a good environmental and safety initiative, and an important resource for the entire region.
“This terminal will not just be for companies at Herøya. The idea is for all freight that cannot be carried by Yara Birkeland to be transported by rail, including freight from firms outside the industrial park,” he emphasises.
Supported by lorry owners
The aim to transfer more freight from road to rail is also supported by the haulage industry. CEO Geir A. Mo of Norges Lastebileier-Forbund (the Norwegian association of haulage contractors) believes that more freight carried by rail into and out of Norway will have several positive consequential effects, including for the environment and climate. In a recent interview with Dagsavisen he points to how the railway network is particularly suitable for high-volume transport over long distances, typically bulk, timber and containers.
Geir A. Mo also emphasises that the haulage industry faces increasing recruitment challenges that can be met by transferring more freight from lorries to rail and sea.
Ole Bjørn Ulsnæs og Åse Himle <ase.himleSPAMFILTER@hipark.no>