Swedish Port of Gothenburg witnessed the worst year ever for container volumes as it reported a drop of 19 percent in total 2017 box numbers.
Gothenburg, the largest port in Scandinavia, handled 644,000 containers during 2017, falling from 798,000 TEUs recorded during 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,” Magnus Kårestedt, Port of Gothenburg chief executive, said.
The long-running labour dispute between the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union and the terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg had in part impacted the volumes for 2016, although the repercussions were greatest in 2017.
“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,” Kårestedt added.
Despite low container volumes, overall volumes at the Port of Gothenburg remained on a par with 2016. The total freight volume came in at just over 40 million tonnes, buoyed up by good performances in other sectors.
“This can be attributed largely to the record number of cars that have been shipped via the port, coupled with solid figures at our ro-ro terminals,” said Magnus Kårestedt.
During 2017, 295,000 new cars passed through the port, representing a rise of 20 percent compared with the previous year.
Ro-ro freight rose for the third year in succession, and with 593,000 ro-ro units were transported, saw a rise of 10 percent on 2016.