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Today's Feature


Gothenburg looks on the bright side of regulations and mega alliances


WHILE many in shipping see low-sulphur fuel mandates and the advent of mega alliances as challenging if not problematic, not so Sweden's major Port of Gothenburg.

That's because Gothenburg sees shipping alliances bringing needed direct calls with good import volumes just as it sees the new January 1 United Nations fuel rules in the English Channel, the Baltic and North Sea bringing a flood of exports.

The low-sulphur fuel mandate is expected to wipe out a profitable seagoing trade to Sweden's northern lumber yards and steel mills because it will be far too costly to have ships go north go empty - not with with fuel costing 50 to 60 per cent more that it does now.

This will drive the sea trade to road and rail cross country from the Baltic side of Sweden to the Atlantic side where the Port of Gothenburg is sitting pretty when the fuel rule goes live on January 1.

That's how way Claes Sundmark, the port's vice president for the  containers, ro-ro and rail, explains the situation in an interview with the Container Shipping Manager at the recent Shenzhen Logistics and Transportation Fair. 


As for imports, Mr Sundmark's positive view of shipping alliances is derived from his belief that they can act as intermediaries to channel cargo to Gothenburg in quantities that justify direct calls.

With alliances, cargo for Sweden's main port can be amassed by six sales teams - he was referring to his old G6 customer - and put on a single ship, creating a critical mass to justify a direct call. Which in turn, benefits from the containerised exports bound for the Far East waiting on the dock.

This differs from the usual scenario of a multiplicity of sales  teams working for a multiplicity of shipping lines putting what little they collectively collected for Sweden on a multiplicity of ships in such small quantities that it only justifies feeder services from a northern range transshipment port to Gothenburg.

Mr Sundmark reminds us that the Gothenburg volume to and from China takes 35.7 per cent of total imports to Sweden and 12 per cent of total exports from Sweden.

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