The British website ShippingWatch recently published a news story on June 5, 2018, detailing the launch of a massive infrastructure renewal program. This initiative will focus upon enhancing the capabilities of the Port of Gothenburg, an important container shipping hub in Scandinavia. Authorities estimate the proposed modifications to the port will cost some SEK 5.1 billion.
Deepening the Port of Gothenburg
During 2018, the Port of Gothenburg witnessed a slight increase in shipping volumes. Its volume increased from 184,000 to 188,000 standard 20′ shipping containers (“TEUs”) during the first quarter of the year. The port facility serves as a major container shipping center in Sweden, accounting for some 30% of that nation’s foreign trading volume according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Port Authority, Magnus Kårestedt. He praised the decision to provide SEK 1.25 billion in immediate financing for the project.
The improvements will result in an expansion in the “draft” of the port facility from 13.5 meters to a full 16 meters. This change will permit the port to accommodate even the largest container vessels. Mr. Kårestedt described the decision as “incredible” on the part of the Swedish government, and a clear indication of the importance of Gothenburg as the nation’s “main transport hub.”
Praise For Shipping Infrastructure Improvements
The Secretary-General of the Swedish Maritime Authority also offered high praise for the decision of the Swedish government to include maritime infrastructure development and renewal in the infrastructure package. Katarina Norén views the decision to include a total of SEK 5.1 billion in maritime improvements as a sign of the vital importance of shipping to Sweden. The government will invest a total of SEK 700 billion in infrastructure projects (roughly $79.67 billion in U.S. dollars), according to the proposal outlined on Monday.
Currently, the Port of Gothenburg receives 50% of all of Sweden’s imported oil. The port facility handles a wide variety of energy-related goods. The expansion effort will likely augment the Port’s ability to serve customers.
An Important Oil and Gas Industry Terminal
A major new privately owned “bunkering” site anticipates commencing operations at the Port of Gothenburg in August. Last Wednesday, a Norwegian firm named Barents NaturGass announced it had successfully completed negotiations with the Swedish company Swedegas to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a new storage facility at the Port of Gothenburg owned by the Swedish gas distributor.
Reportedly, LNG holds benefits for use in lowering nitrogen oxide emissions, one cause of “acid rain”. Some modern container ships utilize LNG as a source of fuel. Their ability to rely on LNG reportedly helps these vessels reduce their sulfur emissions to almost nil. The improvements to the Port of Gothenburg will likely offer environmental benefits.
—DAVENPORT LAROCHE, The World’s Foremost Shipping Container Investment Firm