Railport Scandinavia is the name given to the rail shuttles operating to and from the Port of Gothenburg. It is an extensive system involving a large number of freight terminals in Sweden and Norway. These rail shuttles allow large volumes of goods to reach the port's customers quickly and efficiently. The rail shuttles also result in reduced environmental impact. Some 61,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide were saved during 2011 by moving the goods to and from the Port of Gothenburg by rail instead of by road. This is equivalent to over 200,000 flights between Gothenburg and Stockholm or the emissions generated by 14,000 passenger cars in one year.
At present, there are 26 daily rail shuttles between the Port of Gothenburg and 24 towns and cities throughout Sweden and Norway. The development of the rail shuttles is a very focused initiative taken by the Port of Gothenburg and got underway properly in 2002. Since then, the volume of goods has almost trebled and the number of containers is now heading towards the 400,000 mark. This is around half of all the containers that are transported to and from the port each year. At present, it is mainly containers that are carried on the trains, although work is in progress to increase the number of trailers moved by rail.
The terminals that form part of the rail shuttle system are to be found from Sundsvall in the north to Helsingborg in the south. There are also rail shuttles to Oslo.
In order to provide a joint, overall picture of the services each terminal can offer, the Port of Gothenburg has commenced work on classifying the terminals.
The classification, or rating, is based on four criteria: Geographical location, range of services, safety and security, and the condition of the area/buildings.
The range of services assessed includes whether cleaning and inspection of the containers is offered, whether refrigerated containers can be connected up, if there is potential to handle hazardous goods, whether there is an empty container depot and if the terminal is ISO classified.
The ratings have not yet been completed, although the terminals that have been classified are indicated by stars. The maximum number of stars that can be awarded is five.
Local customs service
A number of the terminals also offer customs clearance for goods. This means that the goods do not need to be cleared in and out at the Port of Gothenburg and instead this can be done on site at each terminal. This offers considerable benefits to the customer as handling is brought much closer and can take place much quicker.
This also benefits the work at the terminals, where the throughflow can be speeded up. The port terminals want a throughflow that is as fast as possible in order to be able to handle large volumes of freight. It is therefore an advantage if the containers are stored outside the port area. Thanks to the rail shuttles, storage can take place at terminals throughout the country.
To satisfy the customers' differing transport requirements, a number of special solutions have been developed for rail shuttles to and from the port. There are tanker trucks for oil, as well as systems for carrying paper rolls, which arrive on adapted rail trucks in specially built boxes. From the Car Terminal, there are trains adapted for the transport of imported cars to various parts of the country. There are also specially adapted solutions for exceptionally heavy steel bars.
Rail transport is also part of the integrated, intermodal transport system that is vital if such complex and extensive operations that take place at a major port are to work. The trains travel directly into the goods terminals at the port where they are unloaded. They are then loaded with new goods and set off for the terminals and central warehouses at various destinations throughout the country. On arrival, the goods are unloaded from the train and onto trucks for the final, local leg of the journey.