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Port of Gothenburg goes global SCANDINAVIA\\\

Scandinavia may once have been considered a bit of a remote backwater by the world shipping industry, but the number of deepsea services making direct calls in Gothenburg, Sweden’s largest port, has been steadily increasing, points out corporate communication manager, Cecilia Carlsson. New services this year include the G6 Alliance of lines, which launched a direct service to Asia in April and Maersk, which already operated into Gothenburg, which is adding an additional direct service to Asia this October. This will include a number of new Chinese origins and destinations, as well as the Middle Eastern ports of Salalah in Oman and Jebel Ali in the UAE. (Meanwhile, though, the G6 Alliance is to introduce a dedicated shuttle service between Bremerhaven, Hamburg and Gothenburg to cover for the temporary winter suspension of Loop 3.) Also within the past three years,

Shipping Corporation of India introduced a service to and from Colombo and Mumbai. The latter service is currently fortnightly but there are hopes that it will go weekly soon. “There are now 140 places that can

be reached by direct liner service,” Cecilia Carlsson points out. “Many of these are in Europe, of course, but there are many further afield too.” Maersk has in fact served the

port since 1993, while another longstanding player is Great White Fleet, whose main traffic is bananas from Central America but whose capacity is also available for exports out of Scandinavia. Another long-term player is ACL,

whose container and ro ro ships – soon to be replaced by modern tonnage – provide a link to north-west Europe and the UK as well as North America. There is also a considerable car

trade on specialist ro ro ships carried by the likes of Hoegh. There has also been an upsurge

in lines to the UK, including the new North Sea Ro Ro service to Killingholme and the MacAndrews lo lo service to Tilbury (and also Gdynia and Bilbao). Long-term players on this trade include DFDS with its regular ro ro services to Tilbury and Immingham. Gothenburg also recently acquired

a new CMA CGM container feeder line,

serving Oslo and Moss in

Norway and Rotterdam. It will be operated by a 500teu vessel, calling at Gothenburg’s APM terminal. The

“Our goal is for

all passenger and ro ro ships to use onshore power ”

rotation is Rotterdam, Oslo, Moss, Gothenburg and Rotterdam and transit time between Gothenburg and Rotterdam is three days. The new feeder line is CMA CGM’s

second to the Port of Gothenburg. The French line already has a loop that includes Hamburg, Gothenburg and Helsingborg. There are many factors behind the

increase, Carlsson believes. One is that Sweden, despite its population of only a few million, is a major exporter of forest products, cars and machinery. The direct Middle East calls will, for instance, help open up a major market for the country’s paper producers. Another reason is that while volumes may be relatively small compared with, say, Rotterdam and Hamburg, cargo flows are quite well balanced, always a major consideration for container lines. The availability of berthing space for some of the largest ships afloat also certainly helps, and, lastly, Gothenburg is emerging as an important regional hub for the rest of Scandinavia, the Baltics and Russia, both by rail or feeder ship. It is one of Norway’s main outlets to the sea, especially as there is now a regular container rail shuttle to Oslo, only 300km away. “As ships get bigger and bigger,

shipping lines are looking for a few strong ports that can act as regional hubs,” explains Cecilia Carlsson. Adding to Gothenburg’s

attractiveness as a regional hub is the rail shuttle system, which now serves over 26 destinations in Sweden and Norway. The terminals act as ‘dry ports’ or inland container depots (ICDs) and allow many of the activities that used to be done in Gothenburg such as stuffing or stripping of containers to take place inland. Another advantage, Cecilia Carlsson adds, is that the rail tracks go directly onto the quay in Gothenburg and there is also healthy competition for traffic on the rails with several different operators vying for business. The result is that about 50% of

all Gothenburg’s containers arrive or leave by train, one of the highest proportions of any port in Europe. Cost was the initial spur that drove big shippers like H&M and Ikea to use rail, but green considerations have come to the fore lately. Rail works well in such a long,

thin country as Sweden – it is a couple of thousand kilometres from Gothenburg to the far north, but some nearer at hand rail destinations have also been added lately, including the capital, Stockholm. Gothenburg’s containerised

exports rose 3% in the first half of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, a creditable performance in a generally difficult world market. Business in Europe has been affected by the Euro troubles. The UK market is doing well, as evidenced by the flurry of new service start-ups but continental Europe is a lot more static, says Cecilia Carlsson. One major concern on the horizon

are the new EU sulphur limits on marine diesel fuel. “We are hoping that our customers – the shipping lines – will get some sort of compensation for the extra costs from either the Government of the EU, but we can’t be certain yet,” she explains. Meanwhile, the port is exploring

the options for bunkering LNG (liquefied natural gas) fuel which

many ship operators are likely to adopt for future newbuilds – there are quite a few on the drawing-board. Netherlands-owned tank storage specialist Vopak and Swedegas have signed a letter of intent for a new terminal that would be ready in 2015. Another


exercise is the announcement by DFDS that it will switch to onshore power supply from early next year, joining Enso and Stena Line and bringing the total number of ships using the system to around 40%. Sometimes known as ‘cold ironing’ (the term derives from coal-burning steamship days when the iron of ships in port was literally allowed to go cold when the fires went out) onshore power reduces a major source of emissions and noise. “Our goal is for all passenger and ro ro ships to use onshore power,” says Cecilia Carlsson. These types of vessel spend a lot of time in port, relative to container ships. Gothenburg was the first port to

offer high voltage onshore power and the electricity is generated from offshore wind turbines. Other major infrastructure

Issue 6 2012


projects ongoing are terminal operator NPM’s introduction of three new super-post-panamax container

cranes and a new

rail terminal and the port of Gothenburg’s own €40 million redevelopment of its southern container terminal which will involve demolition of the existing quay wall and building a new one. Hard-standing will be reinforced for new-generation cranes and there will also be an onshore supply here. The scheme is due to be completed in 2015.

A new forest product terminal

opened in June, close to the port, and allowing most traffic to be brought in by rail. It is also possible to stuff product into containers where traffic doesn’t already arrive unitised. There are virtually no space

limitations in Gothenburg, says Cecilia Carlsson, so carrying out this type of added value activity in port is not a problem. That said, all the operational areas of the port – the container and ro ro terminals – are close together, making Gothenburg an extremely efficient transshipment hub.

Ship shuffle helps DFDS respond

Whilst generally lower economic activity has affected volumes, the flexibility of its fleet has given DFDS a key advantage; vessels can be shuffled to serve destinations where increased cargo volumes demand larger capacities. With a 51-strong fleet of modern

vessels serving a comprehensive network of 530 weekly departures covering 20 countries and 42 destinations, DFDS Seaways is one of Europe’s largest shipping companies, with Scandinavian trade central to its operations, linking with the Baltic, Continental Europe and Britain. On DFDS’s


Immingham route, three of the six vessels have each been extended by 30 metres, gaining 25% extra cargo capacity.

“Because of the recession in the

UK and the entry of a new operator in the market the Gothenburg- Immingham route is currently seeing overcapacity. This capacity, however, became very useful on the DFDS route between Gothenburg and Ghent where we have seen encouraging


not least supported by growing volumes for Volvo. For this reason we have reshuffled vessel usage on North Sea routes”, said senior vice president and head of DFDS’ North Sea business, Kell Robdrup. Since June the Gothenburg-Ghent run has been serviced by Ficaria seaways, Freesia Seaways and Begonia Seaways, each of which offer 4,650 lane metres capacity. At the same time the Gothenburg- Immingham route became serviced

by Primula Seaways, Petunia Seaways and Magnolia Seaways, each with 3,831 lane metres capacity. “DFDS can capitalise on the

flexibility within our large network for the benefit of the important Scandinavian and European markets. By switching the greater capacity from the Gothenburg- Immingham route to the Gothenburg-Ghent route we are able to meet customer needs and optimise capacity to suit market conditions. Our customers have welcomed the change, which is a real pleasure,” said Kell. The vessel reshuffle comes on

the back of the signing of new multi- year contracts agreed with Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group Logistics which came into force over the summer.

Weekly sailings to/from UK & Continental Europe to: • Norway / Denmark / Finland / Estonia / • Lithuania / Russia / Caucasus Republics

• Logistics and forwarding services door to door, both by rail and road • Warehousing and distribution including customs clearance • GPS tracking of containers & trailers

Tel:+44 (0) 1205 316840

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