Larger vessels require deeper harbours

The Port of Gothenburg is the only port in Sweden that can receive the world’s largest vessels. At present they are unable to do so fully loaded. To address this problem and ensure Swedish industry is able to meet the demands of the future, extensive deepening of the fairway is required. The project, known as Skandia Gateway, is being run jointly by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Port of Gothenburg. An application was submitted to the Land and Environment Court in December, a design-build contractor has been appointed, and we have secured funding from our owners.

The project in practice

The area that needs to be deepened is almost five kilometres long and 11 million cubic metres of clay will need to be dredged. This will increase the maximum depth for ships from the current 13.5 metres to 16,5-17.5 metres. In addition, the turning circle outside the Container Terminal needs to be widened. Quays and terminal areas will be reinforced when the harbor basin is deepened by up to 7 m, allowing two large vessels to be handled at the same time.

From vision to reality

As current conditions prevent certain vessels from visiting Sweden, work needs to begin as quickly as possible. Preparations began in 2019, the Gothenburg Port Authority will begin quay reinforcement work in the fourth quarter of 2023, and the Swedish Maritime Administration will begin dredging in the autumn of 2026.

The project is scheduled for completion at around the turn of the year 2027/2028.

Map illustrating the planned depthening of the fairway in the Port of Gothenburg.


quick facts icon

83% of Sweden's foreign trade is shipped by sea and the Port of Gothenburg is the only Swedish port that can receive the world's largest ocean-going ship.

quick facts icon


83% of Sweden's foreign trade is shipped by sea and the Port of Gothenburg is the only Swedish port that can receive the world's largest ocean-going ship.


83% of Sweden's foreign trade is shipped by sea and the Port of Gothenburg is the only Swedish port that can receive the world's largest ocean-going ship.


83% of Sweden's foreign trade is shipped by sea and the Port of Gothenburg is the only Swedish port that can receive the world's largest ocean-going ship.

Skandia Gateway facts

Some 83% of Swedish exports take place by sea, and the Port of Gothenburg is the only port in Scandinavia that can offer direct services to other parts of the world using the largest deep-sea cargo vessels. To assure access to the world for Swedish industry in the future, the fairway needs to be deepened by four metres, and the harbour basin and quays need to be deepened and reinforced.

Below are just some of the benefits to be gained from deepening the fairway:

  • Direct shipping offers Swedish industry access to a rapid, dependable means of transportation that is both cost-effective and sustainable.
  • By deepening and broadening the fairways and strengthening the quays we can assure Swedish industry and Sweden as a nation that direct shipping will continue.
  • Direct calls mean the largest cargo vessels can enter the port fully loaded. Not only is this more sustainable, it also ensures the future development of the merchant fleet.
  • Half of Sweden’s container trade passes through the Port of Gothenburg.
  • Cargo worth billions of kronor is handled at the port every year. The Port of Gothenburg is the primary transit point for almost 30% of Swedish exports.

Larger vessels require deeper harbours

The global merchant fleet has grown at a rate no one could have anticipated when the fairway was last deepened. In just 15 years, the capacity of container vessels has increased by 50% and even larger vessels are already on the drawing board. Deep-sea vessels capable of carrying over 20,000 containers call at the Port of Gothenburg on a regular basis but are currently unable to do so fully loaded due to the present depth of the fairway. The focal points in the Skandia Gateway investment are deepening of the harbour basin and reinforcement of the quays to ensure several deep-sea vessels can be handled at the same time.

After consultation and preparation of documentation for the permit application, it was submitted for review by the Land and Environment Court on December 22, 2020. The documentation for the application was prepared jointly by the Maritime Administration and the Port of Gothenburg.

On June 1-3, the main negotiations were held in The Land and Environmental Court, Gothenburg.

On September 29, Skandia Gateway received an environmental permit.

On October 20, 2022, the Port of Gothenburg received a legally binding environmental judgment for its part of the project, and the Swedish Maritime Administration received the equivalent for its part on March 6, 2023. The Port of Gothenburg's part includes quay reinforcement and the Swedish Maritime Administration's part dredging and moving dredged masses.

Project status quay measures

During January and February 2024, NCC will form a work organization and build workplaces for approximately 100 people in Skandiahamnen. After that, the work on quay measures starts.

Environmental permit has been obtained. Strengthening of Skandia harbour can be carried out in two phases.

The first phase, the Western Quay, involves includes strengthening and reconstruction of approx. 700 m of quay which includes excavation of 15,000 square metres of earth and rock at the terminal, sinking 1 500 piles, and creating a 500-metre extension of the crane beam for the largest container cranes. This will be followed by backfilling and the creation of new land area at the terminal. Existing sheet piling at the quayside will be replaced with new, more powerful piling, an area of 50 metres from the quayside will be dredged, and the harbour basin will be protected against erosion.

The work shall be carried out in a partnering arrangement, where NCC was awarded the contract on July 1, 2020, following a procurement process in the spring of 2020. After completing the detailed planning, in November 2022, the parties agreed to continue the project and move into the implementation phase. However, the start of implementation is conditional on the EU Commission's assessment of whether Skandiaporten constitutes unfair state aid or not. The process is ongoing, and a decision is expected in the fall of 2023. A positive notification received on 27 November 2023.

The Western Quay Location received approval for financing from the municipal board and municipal council in September 2022. This was granted after the municipal board and municipal council in Gothenburg approved the conditions outlined in a previously drafted memorandum of understanding between the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Maritime Administration, and the Port of Gothenburg AB.

The budget for the entire project is SEK 2.8 billion (2017 cost situation), of which the Gothenburg Port Authority (Gothenburg municipality) accounts for SEK 1.255 billion. The Gothenburg Port Authority has previously also been notified of EU support for parts of the project via the Connect Europe Facility fund.

Following the completion of detailed planning and pricing of the work to be carried out, it has been determined that allocated funds remain.

No decisions have been made regarding when the second part, the Eastern Quay Location, can be implemented, and no financial resources have been allocated either. NCC has an option to carry out the Eastern Quay Location as well, should it be implemented.

Project status fairway measures

Environmental permits have been obtained.

The Swedish Maritime Administration is working on developing an inquiry document and planning to contract a dredging contractor in late 2024. Assuming a contract is signed, dredging will commence in the autumn of 2026, and the work should be completed by the turn of 2027/2028.

Jan Andersson

Projektledare Skandiaporten

+46 31 368 75 27

Elin Dörrheide

Biträdande Projektledare Skandiaporten

+46 31 368 75 87

Cecilia Lööf

Head of Marketing & Communications

+46 739 503 297

Jenny Röström

Projektledare Skandiaporten, Sjöfartsverket

Björn Alverfeldt

Kommunikatör Skandiaporten, Sjöfartsverket

Societal benefits

The Port of Gothenburg is the only port in Scandinavia that offers direct services between Europe and the Far East – a route that is served by the world’s largest container vessels. Following completion of the Skandia Gateway project, the fairway and the harbour basin will be 16,5-17.5 metres deep. This investment is strategically important for Swedish industry, as it assures future imports and exports using direct services.

Environmental and societal gains

Vessels that are deeper and broader can make direct calls from other continents and arrive with more freight per vessel, offering significant environmental and economic gains. Higher freight volumes per vessel improve transport efficiency, generating economies of scale.

The Port of Gothenburg is the largest and most prominent freight hub in Scandinavia, offering a nationwide catchment area in which a sustainable rail network is prioritised for freight transport. Climate impact can be reduced significantly if freight is transported over long distances using an electrified rail system instead of by road.


Planned measures, including deepening and broadening of the fairway and quay reinforcement, require an environmental permit under the Environmental Code. An application for an environmental permit was submitted to the Land and Environment Court in autumn 2020. A number of inquiries and investigations has been conducted, and an environmental impact assessment will be prepared.


The preparation of an environmental impact assessment is a process, and a key part of this process is consultation. Consultation involves providing information about planned measures and obtaining data from public authorities, associations, organisations, and the general public that would form part of the assessment. Consultation took place during spring and summer 2020. Read more about the consultation process here.

The environmental impact assessment includes an investigation of the effects of turbidity, noise, vibrations, and air emissions. Experience gained from dredging, blasting, and piling is invaluable when assessing the impact and consequences of planned measures. This is demonstrated by the experience gained from the projects that were run in 2002-2004. Back then similar measures were implemented in the fairway, harbour basin, and the eastern part of the Skandia Harbour. With the requisite management and monitoring, the projects could be completed without any lasting negative impact on the environment. Permission was granted on 29 September 2020. Permission for quay measures was given on 29 September 2022 to the Port of Gothenburg and for dredging on 6 March 2023 to the Maritime Administration.


The cost of the joint Skandia Gateway Project is estimated to be SEK 2.5 billion kronor and will be divided equally between the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Swedish Transport Administration – SEK 1,255 billion – and the Gothenburg Port Authority – up to SEK 1,255 billion. This sum will cover:

  • Deepening of the fairway for vessels with a draught of up to 16.5 m. The Swedish Maritime Administration and Göteborgs Hamn AB are jointly reviewing the possibility of deepening somewhat further, down to a maximum of 17.5 m. The cost of this extension is not included in the forecast for the basic assignment.
  • Deepening and broadening of the harbour basin at the west quayside
  • Deeper berths and quay reinforcement

If other quays are to be deepened, this will require a separate decision by the Gothenburg Port Authority and its owners.