Port of Kemi History

History of Port of Kemi


The Port of Kemi was founded by a regulation from the Russian emperor Alexander II, together with the founding words of the city of Kemi were announced in March 5, 1869. At first, Port of Kemi was founded in the city center of Kemi, where the inner harbor now lays. At the same time, the city of Kemi was also give the rights of staple town, that meant the city was given the right to perform overseas trade.

This regulation by Alexander II gave the city the right to collect tree charges (also known as merchant charges), property tax, port, bridge and load charges as well as port and weigh house taxes. The staple town rights stated that the city “must be equipped with a customhouse in which a bonded warehouse, a weigh house and a storage warehouse are included”. This meant that already back then, the city was obligated to build the infrastructure which is the foundation for today’s port operations. This privileged right was cancelled as late as 1.1.1995.

The picture is taken in the port of Ajos in 1951. Source: City of Kemi


Due to upthrust, the port of Kemi was quickly becoming lower. A deep-water port was planned to build already in the beginning of the 1900s, but the actual construction of Ajos deep-water port did not start until 1939. The Second World War slowed down the construction work and the pier 1 of Ajos was finished in the autumn of 1946. The construction work quickly gained up speed; pier 2 was completed in 1949, the Oil Harbor in 1954 and the piers 3 and 4 in 1963.

The picture is taken in the port of Ajos in 1951. Source: City of Kemi


Wintertime seafaring demands a lot from the port as well as from the ships. In Finnish weather conditions, construction of seaports has always demanded a lot of effort and investments. Ice conditions during winters limited the all-year usage of the port for a long time. With the help of qualified ice breaking operators, the ports of Kemi have been open for traffic year-round since 1971.

The picture is taken in the port of Ajos in 1964. Source: City of Kemi


Port of Kemi was incorporated in the beginning of 2012, the new company continued operating as Port of Kemi Ltd. In the 2010s, Port of Kemi has among others renovated piers and extended the handling of mining products in cooperation with the operators. The environment and taking care of it are an important part of the port operations; Port of Kemi wants to support sustainable development by, among others, being involved in bio fuel plants.