Magnus Sjöberg is the new project manager for construction of the new freight port at Norvikudden in Nynäshamn. The project will take three years to complete.
With the right decision, Ports of Stockholm could begin blasting work as early as next summer. A Supreme Court ruling could be issued any Thursday from now onwards.
Magnus Sjöberg became the project manager for Ports of Stockholm in October. The project offices are located at Frihamnen, but the work itself is at Norvikudden. It is there that the new freight port will take shape.
An efficient and accommodating port
"This will be an efficient and accommodating port. I want the freight drivers to experience this port as one where everything functions smoothly", says Magnus Sjöberg.
That day is still some way off, but he means that he has been given a unique opportunity to create a modern port for the future and one that meets customer demands. Magnus is accustomed to working with large projects but he admits to some feelings of awe when he first visited the Norvikudden site in September.
"It is an enormous area, as big as at least 50 football pitches. It feels like an incredibly exciting challenge. Not everyone gets to be involved in building a new port", he explains.
A lifetime of building
Building is nothing new to Magnus. He has been doing it all his life. His projects have ranged from building a swimming pool in his own garden to being the construction leader for the new stretch of E4 motorway to bypass Uppsala.
That he would follow in his father's footsteps as a graduate engineer was in no doubt. Magnus chose to specialize in roads and water and, since graduating in the 1990s, he has held several prominent posts in a number of major Swedish infrastructure projects. He has mostly worked on land, but has spent much of his leisure time on the water.
"Our family has a small boat that we use for swimming trips in the summer. I would love to spend my holidays at sea, but the family are not so keen on that idea", he says.
His links to the sea and that fact that he has always been interested in ports contributed to him saying yes to the post of project manager for Norvikudden when he was offered the job.
"The primary reason was naturally the challenge of this large and exciting infrastructure project. But something about ports and ships that sail all over the world has always attracted me. And I have friends who work for Ports of Stockholm, so I knew that the company was a good employer to work for", says Magnus Sjöberg.
But it was still not easy for him to resign from the position he held at the time, managing the snow clearing of Infranord’s rail tracks. In that position he had a lot of personnel responsibility and the move meant leaving behind colleagues he was attached to and had himself recruited.
Infrastructure projects have similarities
It was a hectic start to the new job. There were many documents and contracts to read.
"At the same time it is surprising how similar infrastructure projects are. This project includes building bridges, rail track and roads. These are all things I have done before. Then there are always things that differ. In this case it is the specific shipping aspects. But those we will entrust to specialists", he states.
He is very impressed by the skills and experience already available in the project. Magnus had spent his morning in a consultation meeting with the five leaders of the sub-projects. It is important to regularly meet and know exactly what the current status is.
"We decided that we will order more information material. In a project of this type I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to provide the general public with information. If people know what is happening and how long any disruption will last, there is a much greater level of understanding. People have a right to know", Magnus says.
Waiting for the Supreme Court ruling
An infrastructure project of this magnitude does not just happen. As well as the technological, logistical and construction aspects, there are also legal considerations. Ports of Stockholm is still waiting for a decision to be issued by the Supreme Court to say exactly when construction work can begin for the new port.
"That decision can be communicated any Thursday from now onwards. We don't know the exact date, but it is on Thursdays that the Supreme Court issues rulings", explains Magnus Sjöberg.
If everything goes in favour of Ports of Stockholm the initial blasting work could begin next summer and the dredging work could start in September. The port would then be completed in 2015. If not, the construction work will happen later.
"Obviously the uncertainty is frustrating for those of us involved in the project. At the same time I have the greatest respect for the people who have opinions about the port. That is why the legal process is so important. We must have a correct and good decision", Magnus Sjöberg says.
The legal process is not something unique to Ports of Stockholm. These aspects are something he is accustomed to.
"This is what happens when major projects are to be carried out. It is all part of the job", he says.
Logistics are the most difficult
Apart from the legal aspects, what are the major challenges?
"Logistics. In a project of this magnitude everything must be done in the correct order and only once. If we blast rocks and move these to the wrong place there could be major consequences. It could take months and cost millions to move them again. That is why logistics are a sub-project of their own in the construction. We must know what is to be done when", Magnus explains.
He checks his mobile phone. No decision from the Supreme Court yet. It will come.