Mastering the challenges of the Finnish winter

Mastering the challenges of the Finnish winter

As winter fades and the beauty of a new spring unfolds, we enjoy the wonder of this season that arches winter and summer. I write, however, not about the new spring, but about the winter we have just come through and what we have learned from it.

Everywhere along the Finnish coast, we had a lot of snow this past winter. What made the situation exceptionally challenging was that the temperature fluctuated above and below freezing for a long period of time. Equipment got stuck, traffic got stuck, the corners of containers were filled with frozen snow preventing twist locks from attaching, and the quays became so uneven that the last moving machines at times needed to advance at walking speed to prevent damage.

When we look back on the winter maintenance at all our ports plus extra weather-induced problems, they add up to not just 70 centimetres of snow, but a cost of at least a million euro.

Yes, we have always told the world how we Finnish operators have no problem with winters and that we are always prepared to handle winter conditions. But this year was difficult and it hit us hard. Well, no-one got hurt, and all our terminals worked smoothly without interruptions, although at times operations were slower than normal.

This past winter was filled with exceptional circumstances that elsewhere in the world would probably have meant closing ports down. Yet, surrender is not an option for us. We learned a lot – maintenance practices and equipment have now been updated to face future winters. There is no way we can avoid winter and its accompanying problems for port operations, but at least we are now better prepared.

I want to thank all our customers and partners for your patience and understanding, and sincerely wish you a beautiful and snow-free summer! You’re laughing – but it has been known to snow in Finland in summer.

Tapio Mattila


The article written by Mr. Tapio Mattila has been published in our customer magazine Satama in May 2019. Please read the online magazine of Satama.

About Author

Tapio Mattila

Mr. Tapio Mattila works as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, and as a Unit Manager in container operations at Steveco.