Frihamnen (Freeport) acquired its name as in the past it was possible to bring goods ashore 'free', which meant that it was not necessary to pay customs duty and VAT before the importer finally took the goods out through the gates.
Frihamnen was officially opened in 1922. Located on the Hisingen side of the river, immediately west of the northern abutment of the Göta Älv Bridge, it comprises three piers – Södra Frihamnspiren ('banana pier'), Norra Frihamnspiren and Kvillepiren.
The oldest parts of the harbour date from the 1920s although many sheds and warehouses are much newer. Bananas were unloaded there for many years and after that it was graced exclusively by cruise ships until 2017. Today, Älvstaden, a new residential district, is being built in this area.
Ryahamnen was built at the beginning of the 1930s, sowing the seeds of what is now the Energy Port. It was here that the major oil companies rapidly expanded their bulk storage facilities.
Lindholmen is located between Sannegårdshamnen and Frihamnen and was the first area on Hisingen to be industrialised. Back in the mid-1850s, a shipyard was established to build ships made of steel and it expanded quickly with the addition of an engineering works dedicated to steam vessels.
During the war years, 1939-1945, 23 ships were launched at Lindholmen and in 1960 it had 1,800 employees.
At the end of the 1960s, the yard was beset by problems. Lindholmen made huge losses on a new type of ferry built to operate between Sweden and the UK. In 1971 the company was sold to Eriksbergs Mekaniska Verkstad, which subsequently moved many of its skilled workers to Eriksberg.
Lindholmen was also the site of Lindholmshamnen, which was completed in 1938. During the war years the harbour was converted into a large quayside warehouse and for almost 50 years it served as the harbour for ocean-going vessels carrying general cargo and cars.
In later years, Lindholmen has been transformed into a leading centre of science and education, focusing on digital communication. It is the site of Lindholmen Science Park and Gothenburg Film Studios.
The port during the Second World War
The war years brought both a rise and fall in flows at the Port in Gothenburg. Manufacturing companies and the shipyards were working flat out whilst conventional trade had declined.
The Port of Gothenburg was strategically important and in the light of the fact that it could potentially be used by the Germans, plans were put in place in spring 1944 to blow up the Göta Älv Bridge and by doing so block the entrance to the port.
During the war, Frihamnen was the scene of two prisoner exchanges, one on SS Drottningholm and the other on MS Gripsholm. Between 1942 and the end of the war the vessels were chartered by the US government and the Red Cross and served as exchange vessels for prisoners of war, diplomats and other civil internees. The vessels were granted safe passage and travelled across the oceans fully lit.