Looking forward, Finnafjördur, Iceland

Jennifer Kingsley
September 19, 2015

(Part 1 of 2)

“As you see, there is nothing here,” says Siggeir Stefánsson. “It is beautiful, but there is no special landscape you can’t see somewhere else.”

In ten or twenty years time, this fjord in Iceland’s northeast corner could be transformed into an international container port with a wharf over six kilometers long. Siggeir manages the local fish plant, but he’s also the head of this municipality, which is home to 530 people. The notion of a container port is now part of the region’s 20 year master plan.

According to a German engineering company, this area is unique in the North Atlantic for it’s depth, sea state and strategic location. It could become part of a new Arctic economy that gets more and more possible as sea ice disappears. It requires thinking way ahead: “We cannot say now the exact structure of this idea . . . If this transporting over the north pole is going to be, we will need more harbours and they have to be somewhere.”

“We are not going to pollute our sea. We live on our sea. It is out of the question.”

It may be a large scale international vision, but it has close ties to home as well. “If you live in Reykjavik, you can choose from 100 kinds of work. Here you cannot choose from so many. Our young people are not coming back.”

Finnafjördur in northeast Iceland, late afternoon view with grey clouds