Piteå has a long history as a shipping city, maritime operations have probably been ongoing here since the 14th century.
The church village is believed to have been the first real port on the Piteå River but land uplift has necessitated moving the port farther and farther out towards the mouth of the river.
In the 1820’s, the depth outside the mouth of the Piteå River was just seven feet, meaning that larger ships had to dock at Huvan for loading and unloading.
To get rid of the sand deposition that caused the poor depth, the Pitsund Arms were built, narrow water passages forcing the river water to run more quickly out into the Gulf of Bothnia, a successful strategy for a long time.
In the 1960’s when the current Municipality of Piteå consisted of four smaller municipalities: the City of Piteå, the Piteå Rural District, the Hortlax Municipality and the Norrfjärden Municipality, the authorities came to the realisation that something had to be done in order to secure sea transportation opportunities for the local industry.
The two major industries SCA and ASSI were planning new transportation systems to meet their increased paper, pulp and wood production volumes.
The City of Piteå planned new quay facilities near the city, whilst the Piteå Rural District pointed to Haraholmen as a possibility (where an oil quay had been operating since 1964, at Sör-Haraholmen).
On July 13, 1973, the new trading port at Haraholmen was opened with great fanfare. The quay facilities then consisted of 300 metres of quay plus the 60m oil quay.
It was around this time that blast excavation of the caverns beneath the port also began. In just a few years, the need for new quays arose. ASSI were also planning a new transport system, using so called RoRo ships to transport their goods, rolling the goods on board as opposed to lifting it by crane. This meant that the port needed a RoRo ramp. Construction of a 280 metre quay with a double RoRo positions was completed in 1979.
The needs of the port and its customers have since grown continually, from a 14,400m2 warehouse at the time of opening to today’s 60,000m2 warehouse capacity. The most recent warehouse was built for Smurfit Kappa in 2005.
Port operations were corporised in 2004. The main incentive behind this decision was that operations required major investment in new and current infrastructure and that a corporisation would allow for external financing.
The largest ship to arrive at Haraholmen was an oil tanker at approximately 75,000 DWT.