Freight Transport – The Infrastructure in Sweden

Freight Transport – The Infrastructure in Sweden

Sweden has an excellent transport infrastructure for freight forwarding as the government has consistently recognised its vital importance to economic prosperity and prioritised its modernisation and development.

The railroads in Sweden have 13,000 kilometres of track, of which roughly a third are privately owned. The rail network includes a fast rail link between Arlanda airport and the centre of Stockholm, making freight transport fast and efficient.

There are a number of major ports and harbours that include state of the art terminals and offer container handling facilities. These include Gaevle, Goteborg, Malmo, Sundsvall, Helsingborg, Halmstad, Kalmar and Stockholm.

The Swedish merchant fleet, with 165 modern ships, is also regarded as an economic priority by the government and the Swedish international freight industry as a whole benefits from the considerable government support of its shipping companies and infrastructure.

The domestic air market in Sweden was deregulated in 1991 and since then a number of Swedish airlines have been competing to serve the international freight markets by carrying cargo. These airlines include Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Transwede and Malmo Aviation.

SAS is, in fact, jointly owned by Sweden, Denmark and Norway, with Sweden owning nearly half. Of this stake, the Swedish government owns 50%. SAS is committed to air transport liberalisation and has pioneered many strategic partnerships to drive forward its ‘open skies’ policy. The liberalisation of the air transport market creates a further advantage to the freight services industry.

There are also 164,000 kilometres of paved roads in Sweden, of which 1500 kilometres are expressways, and 2000 kilometres of navigable waterways. The canny freight company makes a full analysis of the various routes and options available for freight forwarding and ensures that the customer is the ultimate winner.

The 10 mile bridge and tunnel across the straits of Oresund from Malmo in Sweden to Copenhagen in Denmark is regarded as one of the most significant transport infrastructure developments in Europe in recent years.

Indeed, nowhere is Sweden’s committment to its freight transport infrastrucure more evident than in its road transport policy. In 2006, the Transport Research Arena conference was staged in Goteborg to allow participants to see some developments that are regarded as the world’s most advanced road transport developments and will have a significant impact on the international freight market, revolutionising the intelligence available to the shipping company.

These focus on the use of advanced information and communicatons technology to provide intelligent vehicle and transport systems, designed to improve logistics. Of benefit both to the freight transport market and passenger transport. The new technology will facilitate shorter journey times and also more efficient use of fuel. These will not only give Sweden a competitive edge in the short term, they are also likely to serve as a blueprint for transport systems worldwide, heralding a new era of productivity and optimised efficiency in freight services.

Sweden is also working on effectively using information and communication technology to improve the competitiveness of its rail system for freight forwarding. In Sweden, as in many other countries, rail has lost share of the freight forwarding market to road haulage in recent years and this is an area where Swedish rail operators are keen to build revenues. It is therefore likely that Sweden will also lead the way in ‘intelligent trains’.

These improvements will combine to see a picture of continuing innovation and development in the transport infrastructure in Sweden, ensuring that the freight services industry in the country stays at the cutting edge.

Stephen Willis is Managing Director of RW Freight Services a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating worldwide freight forwarding services including specialist freight services to and from Sweden