Port of Gothenburg reaches rail growth ‘others can only dream of’

Port of Gothenburg annual outlook for rail traffic shows some impressive growth. In 2021 the Swedish port handled 458,000 TEUs coming from rail freight, the highest number in its history. With a 9 per cent increase compared to 2020, the port’s authority foresees more growth and some challenges to tackle.

Port of Gothenburg made some additions to its rail network last year. It added four new destinations served with shuttle trains which “played their part in the final yearly volumes”. However, existing connections were also upgraded with more frequent roundtrips. In total, three services stood out in 2021: it was Falköping with traffic rising by 27 per cent and Nässjö and Karlstad that grew by 19 per cent.

Enviable numbers

The port of Gothenburg is also proud and loud for its rail-borne container volumes. “The proportion of rail-borne container freight has also risen. More than 60 per cent of container freight passing through the port is now transported by rail – a figure that most of the other major international ports can only dream of”.

However, the port’s growth is also attributed to the overall tendency to use rail in Scandinavia and the Swedish railway system. “There is considerably more interest compared to a few years ago, and at the moment everyone wants to take the train. The high capacity that only rail transport can offer and to growing environmental awareness among transport purchasers are the main drivers for this trend,” said Antti Laakso, senior logistics development manager at the Gothenburg Port Authority.

By high capacity in Scandinavia, Laakso refers to the extended rail infrastructure in which the port has invested in recent years as part of the Railport Scandinavia concept. “The system has become more consistent in line with the expansion and upgrading of the port line, which runs right up to the quayside. Inside the port, operating efficiency has increased following extensive investment in rail-linked transhipment facilities. This has further enhanced our standing in the market,” mentioned Laakso.

More support on rail

The future seems even more positive. The post expects further growth in rail freight volumes with forecasts saying that it could reach and exceed 500,000 TEUs next year. However, there are some prerequisites to keep performance rates high. “Rail operators anticipate more pressure from the market, and as a result, the rail freight capacity in Sweden must increase even more. Rail freight traffic must be prioritised more clearly within the Swedish rail network if the shift-to-rail trend is to continue, ” concluded Laakso.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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