No funding for icebreakers
The Swedish Maritime Administration wants that the purchase of new icebreakers to be included in the national infrastructure plan. However, when the Swedish Transport Administration presented its proposal for a plan on Tuesday, the icebreakers were left out. There is now a concern that it will take too long before the new vessels are in place.
According to the Swedish Transport Administration, there is a lack of money, but above all there is another problem – the ordinance on the national plan for transport infrastructure does not allow investment in icebreakers.
“What must happen is that politics steps in and says that the icebreakers must be prioritized and put into the plan”, says Anders Dahl, head of the icebreaking unit at the Swedish Maritime Administration.
The Transport Administration proposal is now out for a consultation round until January, so there is still time for change.
“I do not dare to believe or think anything, it is pure and simple politics it is about, but it is clear that we hope that the icebreakers are included. That is what we have advocated because we see it as the most natural way to finance.”
There are two other financing alternatives for the Swedish Maritime Administration - either through a direct grant from the government or through fee increases. However, the latter would hit shipping unreasonably hard, says Anders Dahl.
“It is also a decision that we do not own ourselves because we are not allowed to increase the fees so much.”
But he thinks it will work out. The question is only when. What worries is that the decision on financing takes time.
“We are already behind. And when the decision is made, there is still a long way to go, he says and continues:
“We are currently in the design process. When it’s finished in March, we are ready to go to procurement, which we must do. Otherwise there will be huge delays. There is a great need for the new icebreakers to be in place around 2025 – 2026”, says Anders Dahl.