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Øresund Magazine

More vehicle traffic expected through the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel

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New traffic prognosis for the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel from Femern A/S, Nov.20, 2014. The tunnel should be completed in 2021 and will cost 46 billion Danish crowns (2014 monetary value). The image in the background depicts a model of the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel, built on Oct.1, 2014 on Copenhagen’s Rådhusplads. It was erected by Denmark’s Minister of Transportation Magnus Heunicke (S) and Anke Spoorendonk, the Minister of Justice, Culture and European Affairs in the German state government of Schleswig-Holstein (SSW). Photo: News Øresund.

The traffic prognosis for the tunnel being built under the Fehmarn Belt has been revised. Increased traffic revenue, more EU subsidies and a lower real interest rate mean that the repayment period for the tunnel’s construction has been shortened from 39 years to between 32 and 37 years.

The tunnel between Danish Lolland and Germany will be inaugurated in 2021. An average of 9 500 vehicles and 93 trains are expected to pass through the tunnel daily in 2022; three years later, the number of vehicles per day is expected to rise to 11 000, while the number of trains should rise to 101.

Traffic is expected to increase by 1.2 to 1.4% annually, a rate at which 11 107 private cars, 101 buses and 1 844 lorries would drive through the Fehmarn Tunnel in 2035 for a total of 13 052 vehicles. In the same year, the projected number of passenger trains to pass through the tunnel is 40 and the number of freight trains 74, for a total of 114 trains daily.

The cost of driving through the tunnel will be 484 Danish crowns for private cars and 2 059 Danish crowns for lorries. Railway companies using the tunnel will pay an annual tariff of 384 million Danish crowns.

The economic situation for Femern A/S has improved, and not only due to the increase in traffic revenue. EU support for the tunnel’s construction expected to increase from 10 to 18 per cent of the construction expenses, and it is surmised that Femern A/S can be jointly taxed with the other Danish state-owned bridge company Sund & Bælt, thereby lowering tax expenses from 25 to 22 per cent.

In conjunction with lower real interest rates than those originally anticipated, the adjusted prognosis indicates that the improved economic situation for the tunnel’s construction will shorten the repayment period from 39 years to between 32 and 37 years, depending on how much of the contingency fund is utilised during the construction period.

The new traffic prognosis was compiled by Femern A/S to provide the Danish Parliament Folketinget with data for the pending decision regarding cadastral legislation for the tunnel construction. Construction costs are estimated at 46 billion Danish crowns (contemporary monetary value), with an additional 9.5 billion Danish crowns for land facilities on the Danish side.

“We are now presenting updated information for decision-making regarding the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. The updated traffic prognosis and the updated financial analysis should put an end to criticism of the out of date information,” Denmark’s Minister of Transportation Magnus Heunicke said in a commentary.

However, the ferry company Scandlines, which currently handles traffic over the Fehmarn Belt, continues to criticise the tunnel project. In today’s [Danish business newspaper] Børsen, Scandlines CEO Søren Poulsgaard claims that the calculations presented by Femern A/S are flawed, as they are contingent on Scandlines’ stopping ferry traffic between Denmark and Germany upon the tunnel’s completion. Scandlines has no intention of doing so. Instead, Scandlines’ CEO states that ferry traffic is being denigrated, and in a report to the EU the ferry company asserted that the tunnel project’s economy is based on illegal government support in the form of state guarantees of liabilities without a time limit.

Scandlines has presented its criticism in letter to Femern A/S and requested a meeting at which the issue can be discussed. ”Of course we will accommodate,” Femern A/S CEO Claus F. Baunkjær said to Børsen. (News Øresund)

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