Record fall in container volumes at the Port of Gothenburg

The Port of Gothenburg reports that 2017 went down in history as the worst year ever for the port’s container volumes with a fall of 19 per cent. And yet the total freight volume came in at just over 40 million tonnes, buoyed up by good – and in some cases record-breaking – performances in other sectors.

More than 70 per cent of Swedish international trade distribution takes place by sea. In general, trade with countries outside Europe relies on container vessels. At the Port of Gothenburg, the largest port in Scandinavia, 644,000 containers (20-foot units) were handled during 2017, a fall of 19 per cent on 2016.

“This is a downturn that we have never been close to at any point in the history of the port, and it took place in a year when container trade globally had increased. It is difficult to put into words the seriousness of the situation,” said Magnus Kårestedt, Port of Gothenburg chief executive.

The long-running labour dispute between the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union and the terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg had impacted in part on volumes for 2016, although the repercussions were greatest in 2017.

Magnus Kårestedt explained: “We had hoped for a recovery towards the end of the year in the absence of any industrial action since last summer. But this was not the case. The message from the freight owners is loud and clear – the constant threat of industrial action hanging over the container terminal means they will not be returning without a long-term solution that will ensure reliable freight handling over time.”

Source: Port of Gothenburg

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