Impact of port dispute under examination in major research project

00:00 - 29 Nov 2017 / News

The current labour dispute at the Port of Gothenburg has led to container volumes hitting a record low and forced a large number of companies to make changes. Professor Johan Woxenius at Gothenburg University School of Business, Economics and Law is heading a new study that will examine the impact from a national perspective.

The protracted labour dispute at the container terminal in Gothenburg, operated by APM Terminals, has led to container volumes hitting their lowest level since 2001. Companies large and small have been affected and have been forced to seek alternative solutions. In many cases these have resulted in freight flows being redirected and with a subsequent increase in land transport.

In a new project entitled ‘Logistical consequences of the dispute at the Gothenburg Container Terminal’, Gothenburg University School of Business, Economics and Law, together with SSPA, will examine the impact of the dispute from a national perspective. They will conduct an independent and impartial study of the implications of the dispute, and how the problems that have arisen have been handled as the dispute has progressed.

Entire import-export flow affected
It is fundamentally a question of which companies have been affected, how they have been affected, what measures are being taken to mitigate the consequences, and what the outcome has been. The dispute is not just a local and regional issue but one that has repercussions throughout the entire Swedish import and export chain.

“For a country such as Sweden, which is highly dependent on trade, it is vitally important that our biggest port is effective and reliable,” said project leader Johan Woxenius, who is a professor at Gothenburg University School of Business, Economics and Law and a researcher at the research centre Northern LEAD.

“Time and cost constraints in today’s complex production chains are such that manufacturing is only located where the logistics system is totally problem free. We need to know more about the impact of the disruptions and the strategies that are being employed to deal with them.”

Different phases
The study – funded by the Swedish Transport Administration – has been divided into different phases, each of which will be rolled out during the course of the project, which commenced in October. The first phase, which will be a background description of the dispute and the logistical instability that has ensued, will be completed in March 2018. It will then be followed by an examination of the environmental implications of changes in maritime container traffic.

By way of conclusion, case studies will be conducted that demonstrate the logistical, economic and environmental consequences of the dispute for individual companies and their supply chains. A final report is expected to be published in September 2019. Read more about Northern LEAD and ongoing research projects here.

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