🇸🇪 Meet the companies behind the railway investment in Boden

Press release from Bodenxt

December 6, 2023

Bild 1: En panel med fyra deltagare och en moderator i en konferensmiljö. Bakom dem syns en stor skärm med en bild av ett snöigt landskap och texten "BODEN BUSINESS PARK".

The company Polar Structure is not only investing heavily in building a railway to the Boden Industrial Park, but also has a long-term plan for the region. During the Bodenxt Talks they told us what it looks like.

The railway issue to and from the Boden Industrial Park has been debated for some time. How would it be financed and who would carry out the task?

The municipality of Bodens chose to solve this by conducting a public-private partnership (PPP) procurement. This means that a private company or consortium is awarded the contract to finance, build and operate a public good over a long period of time. In Sweden, the Arlanda Express has been built using this solution, among others.

At the municipal level it is more rare, but for Boden it has become the choice to enable the necessary infrastructure for the Boden Industrial Park, within the timeframe requested by H2 Green Steel.

More than a railway

Many companies expressed interest and one company stood out – Polar Structure. But it was not their specialization in sustainable infrastructure solutions, but their vision.

During the Bodenxt Talks event, where the theme was critical infrastructure to ensure the green transition, Polar Structure’s CEO and founder, Tobias Emanuelsson, took the stage and told us more about the future plans.

– We are going to build a railway for H2 Green Steel and that’s why we are here, but at the same time, that’s not the only reason why we are doing this initiative. The railway will also create the opportunity for more businesses to establish themselves at Boden Industrial Park,” he says.

A man addresses an audience in a conference hall. The background shows the Polar Structures logo and an image of a winter landscape, with the text 'BODEN BUSINESS PARK'.
Tobias Emanuelsson, CEO of Polar Structure, on stage with Susann Jonsson, moderator. Photo: Boden Business Park

Prior to the procurement, the company conducted an in-depth future analysis and concluded that Boden is a very interesting place to develop. There were many factors at play. H2 Green Steel’s establishment, the ongoing green transition in northern Sweden and the rail network.

– Boden is right in orbit. Two ports are already linked here, Narvik and Luleå, and there are also connections with southern Sweden. Once the railway track is in place, we see, among other things, the possibility of creating intermodal terminals in the area and linking it to shipping, a dry port you could say.

– We are convinced that more transport by rail is necessary to implement the green transition, which is why we choose to invest in Boden.

Want to use local entrepreneurship

In January 2024, the first employee will also be in place and Tobias Emanuelsson repeatedly highlighted their views on the local presence.

– We’re investing in building something here that will work in the long term, and it won’t work if we have to satellite it from another location. This is particularly important when problems arise that need to be addressed.

But it is not only about having staff in place, but also about investing locally.

– We will be clear in our requirement to use local entrepreneurship as much as possible. Everything from physical work to choosing a hotel. Local support should be clear and is an important part of our values.

Polar Structure was founded in 2019 and has since invested by acquiring companies and land to be a strong player in the development of the infrastructure of the future. One of the companies acquired was Train Alliance, which builds and manages train depots and workshops.

Faster and longer trains

Their CEO Otto Persson was also one of the participants at the Bodenxt Talks and explained their reasoning for the railway construction.

– We have looked a lot at the decisions made by the EU within the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and there the core network should be able to handle 750 meter long trains in 2030 and 1000 meters in 2050. Therefore, we will build the tracks and the facility in Boden to be able to handle 1000-meter trains.

Figure 2: A man stands at a lectern with a presentation behind him showing "Train Alliance Sweden AB" and the title "Railway infrastructure with Boden in focus".
Otto Persson, CEO Train Alliance. Photo: Boden Business Park

But even though the track in Boden will be designed for faster and longer trains, it will probably be some time before they can be used in traffic.

– The main line and terminals that exist today lack that capacity, but if we look at the long term, investments in the main network will be needed to meet the TEN-T requirements, which is why we’re doing this now.

The event was also attended by Mats Berg, Business Manager for the municipality of Boden and David Bladfält, Sales Manager BDX.

Bodenxt Talks is an event inspired by the concept of Ted Talks. The event includes lectures on a theme and ends with a panel discussion where participants can discuss the topic. The aim is to create a stage where businesses can meet across sectors and be encouraged to use their skills to contribute to the green transition.

Originally published on 5 December by Bodennxt.

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