Port of Gothenburg transforms logistics of Swedish wood export

2021/08/31 at 8:58 AM

Being the largest harbour of Sweden for many years, the Port of Gothenburg has strengthened its position by launching a new rail freight connection. It has drastically changed the supply chain of the Swedish wood export products to Asia. The new service provides a faster and more reliable way for hinterland sawmills in moving their goods to the harbours.

On Monday, 30 August, a new container train arrived at the Port of Gothenburg. By delivering 32 40-foot boxes from the Fiskarheden sawmill in Malungsfors, Central Sweden, it has turned the page in developing logistics of the country’s export wood products. In Gothenburg, the containers will be transhipped to the containership for moving to Asia. The intermodal service was arranged together with Träfraktkontoret and Ocean Network Express on behalf of Fiskarheden, a major wood supplier in Sweden that produces over 370,000 cubic metres of sawn timber per year.

The Malungsfors – Gothenburg container train, source: the Gothenburg Port Authority

Earlier, this type of freight was transported abroad by using another supply chain: first by truck to the Port of Gävle in the Gulf of Finland and then overseas by container ships. The new service is more reliable for the customers since the railway provides a faster way to the ports and eliminates the necessity of sailing via the congested Danish Straits. Moreover, the Malungsfors – Gothenburg intermodal link contributes to modal shift and decarbonisation. According to the Swedish Environmental Institution (IVL), the rail freight connection halves the carbon footprint of each container from 406 to 207 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide.

Better competitiveness

To launch the new intermodal service, Fiskarheden invested in developing the Malungsfors rail terminal. “Many companies in the forest industry are choosing the Port of Gothenburg to a greater extent and that the port can contribute to reinforcing the international competitiveness of the forest industry by offering frequent departures, an efficient, climate-smart service, and direct transportation to the continent,” said Richard Mellgren, senior business development manager at the Gothenburg Port Authority.

Logistics of the wood products is vital for both the forest sector and entire Sweden., especially in terms of export. The Swedish Forest Industries Association estimated the country’s export of wood products at 145 billion kronor (the 2020 data). The vast majority of this freight or 80 per cent is moving abroad. For instance, Sweden exported abroad 23.4 million tonnes via the Port of Gävle making Sweden the fifth-largest forest product exporter in the world

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