Port of Göteborg freight train

SWEDEN: The port of Göteborg handled 458 000 TEUs by rail in 2021, the highest annual figure in its history, up 9% on 2020, Göteborg Port Authority announced on February 2. More than 60% of the container traffic passing through the port is now being transported by rail, and the proportion is rising.

The increase is partly due to the introduction of four rail shuttles linking the port with Piteå, Gävle, Fiskarheden, and Jönköping. Its upgraded facilities have also enabled more departures and higher loading rates. The main destinations for intermodal trains were Falköping, which recorded a 27% increase in traffic, followed by Nässjö and Karlstad, with 19%.

‘Everyone wants to take the train’, says Antti Laakso, Senior Logistics Development Manager at GPA. He attributes this to the high capacity offered by freight trains and growing environmental awareness among clients. Other factors include the sharp rise in diesel fuel prices and a shortage of lorry drivers that has become acute since the start of the pandemic.

Laakso says the port has been following a long-term strategy over the past two decades aimed at consolidating and expanding its rail infrastructure in line with the Railport Scandinavia concept. The rail link to the port has been upgraded and expanded over recent years, and runs right up to the quayside. Rail-linked transloading facilities have been installed and GPA has sought to prioritise rail handling at the container terminal.

‘The general consensus has long been that the development of freight transport by rail is positive for the environment and the competitiveness of Swedish industry’, he insists. GPA is predicting a further increase in rail freight volumes for this year to 500 000 TEUs, but significant downward pressure on prices is expected, and GPA reports mounting concern about a shortage of capacity on the Trafikverket network to handle more freight services.