THE northern Faroese town of Klaksvík has been a North Atlantic trading centre since the earliest days of sea travel, receiving vessel calls long before it had any quays or shoreside facilities.
This came about not only because of Klaksvík’s ideal position in relation to shipping routes, but also because of its
exceptionally sheltered location between two large ridges at the inner end of a bay.
Klaksvík was the perfect landing place for North Atlantic fishing fleets and soon became a thriving fishing port, exporting large volumes of fish to markets across Europe.
In 2006 an event occurred that has transformed Klaksvík from a remote fishing community into a forward-thinking and rapidly expanding commercial hub. For as long as people have lived in the Faroe Islands, the only link between Klaksvík and the main islands – containing the capital, Tórshavn, the airport at Vágar and other main commercial centres – was by boat. Anyone wishing to travel to the south, or even to import or export goods, was obliged to take the scheduled ferry between Varpabrúgvin quay in Klaksvík and Leirvík on Eysturoy, the next island to the south.
Today, the ferry no longer runs. In its place is a 6.5 km road tunnel linking Klaksvík with Leirvík. For the first time, vehicles can drive non-stop to destinations in the south. This has revolutionised the way people in Klaksvík are thinking about their future.
In the short term, the new link has altered the pattern of commercial traffic and changed the way business is done. There is an easier flow of trade to and from Klaksvík which has brought more consumer choice for its people.
Looking further ahead, Klaksvík wants to attract investment from other parts of the country as well as from overseas. Regional competition will get stronger and companies based in
Klaksvík – as well as its maritime and tourism services – will be able to complete on equal terms with their counterparts in other parts of the Faroe Islands.
The change from ferry to tunnel has been likened to the upgrading of a communications system from a dial-up to a broadband internet connection. It is much quicker and offers a far wider range of possibilities.
Since 2004, when the tunnel was nearing completion, the level of development in Klaksvík has been greater than at any other time in its history. In late 2005 the port unveiled its new Ánir Cargo Terminal, providing deepwater access for vessels more than 200 metres in length. This, in conjunction with the tunnel, has opened up new, fast routes for cargo.
Other developments include a new industrial park, a shopping centre, a retail and entertainment complex on reclaimed land in the town centre and an innovation centre to foster new business ideas and encourage new businesses to grow.
Within these pages, investors can read about the many and varied opportunities for growth now presented by Klaksvík. At the dawn of a prosperous new future, its growth is no longer confined by the historical limitations of its geographical location. Welcome to Klaksvík.