Rauma: a versatile stronghold of industry

Text: Kreetta Haaslahti Photos: Julia Hannula

An industrial park in the former shipyard area. Finland's largest solar power park as well as logistics and business park to be built in Lakari. New players in the forest industry cluster. Rauma has pleasantly refreshing news regarding the growth of business operations.

Rauma is known for traditional industrial companies. Some of these are Oras Oy, the leading European manufacturer of plumbing fixtures, as well as the large forest industry operators UPM, Metsä Fibre and Forchem Oy, which specialises in the refining of tall oil. In the near future, long-term operators get company, as industrial players make many kinds of investments in the seaside city.

Joint infrastructure and services

Established in the former shipyard area, the Seaside Industry Park Rauma business park is home to large companies. The engines in the area are Rolls-Royce and Steerprop (propeller manufacturers), Logistikas (a provider of local and internal logistics and local storage) and Rauma Marine Constructions (a shipbuilder). There are also several smaller players in the area, which has plenty of room for new arrivals.

The cluster of heavy industry offers an efficient operating environment and exceptional competitive advantages to companies settling in the area. Joint infrastructure and the location in a logistical junction of the sea, railways and highways are key aspects but there are other benefits, too.

– The network-oriented approach of the area is a big plus. This means that the companies located in the area are able to utilise each other's services and skills, says Heikki M. Nurmi, Head of Business Services for the City of Rauma.

An exceptional and important benefit is also the joint environmental permit, which has been applied for the area.
– The companies will not have to apply for separate permits for themselves, clarifies Nurmi.

Heikki M. Nurmi © Julia Hannula

The industrial park is managed, coordinated and developed by Rauman Meriteollisuuskiinteistöt (RMTK Oy), a company that rents out the park's premises and equipment, handles their maintenance and organises joint services needed by the companies occupying the park.
– The occupancy rate is nearly 100%, so things are looking particularly good. However, there is still plenty of empty post-shipyard office space, Nurmi tips off.

The future of the park is looking good. The renovation plan, which was created a couple of years ago, is also starting to get implemented.
– Things are moving on very well. There is a good number of larger locomotive companies and along them, a number of players managing fixed-length project operations, says Nurmi.

The Turku Seas 2020 project, implemented by the City of Rauma's Business Services department, has gathered the maritime cluster companies of the Rauma region into a publication, the Catalogue of the Rauma Maritime Cluster Businesses. The cluster-based approach is intended to develop the operational preconditions of the region, promote the networking of the cluster companies and support the marketing efforts of these companies.

Space and flow of goods in Lakari

The Lakari logistics and industrial park is a growing and developing company environment in Rauma, located between highways 8 and 12. The area is designed particularly for companies that require a lot of space, but it is easy for small and medium-sized companies to settle in the area as well. The first company to have located in the Lakari area was Logistikas Oy.

– Their large logistics centre was inaugurated in mid-March, says Nurmi.

Thanks to its logistics terminal expanding 8,000 metres, Logistikas is able to offer its clients local storage opportunities and various services to handle the flow of goods.

Lakarin alue © Julia Hannula

The leading Nordic meat expert, HKScan, is going to build a new poultry production facility in the Lakari area. Comprising a production plant of approximately 25,000 metres as well as acquisitions related to the infrastructure, machines, equipment and systems, the project is among the largest production facility investments in HKScan's history. The new production facility is expected to be completed in the end of 2017.

– For a city the size of Rauma, this is remarkable. The project creates employment opportunities already in the construction phase and I believe a network of service companies supporting the facility's operations will emerge around the facility, Nurmi says.

In Nurmi's view, a new foodstuff cluster era is really taking off in the Rauma region.
– We already have significant food industry operators, such as Kivikylän Kotipalvaamo and Suomisen Lihaherkku. The cluster-based approach will be strengthened and moved to the next level with HKScan.

Utilising solar power and the side streams of the pulp mill

Extensive solar power generation is also being planned in Rauma, right by the Lakari area. An example of this is Solar Park Rauma, which is expected to as much as double the current amount of solar power currently generated in our country. The plant, comprising 27,000 panels, will generate 10.5 GWh of electricity per year, which equals the annual energy need of approximately 1,400 detached houses with non-electric heating.
– At this time, we are considering appropriate locations for the power plants. Funding is also a partially unanswered question, Nurmi comments.

The series of industrial investments in Rauma will be complemented by Aqvacomp Oy due to its plan to build a plant to produce biocomposites in conjunction to Metsä Fibre's Rauma-based pulp mill. Biocomposites are biomaterials that bind pulp fibre and plastic. One of its uses is to replace plastic in the electronics and the automotive industries. The production facility is expected to commence operations in the beginning of 2017.

A production facility for Suomen Tärpätti is also being planned for the same forest industry area of Rauma. The facility will be utilising the side streams of the pulp mill. Construction is expected to start in the autumn of 2016.

Read the traditional Rauma-based Oras Oy's news:
Oras: the wizard of water