Minister for Enterprise in dialogue with global shipping companies

21:10 - 23 Jun 2018 / News

On Wednesday June 20, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg, together with Ann-Sofie Hermansson and leaders from the Gothenburg Port Authority, met a number of representatives from the global shipping companies that operate in and out of the Port of Gothenburg. The panel discussion focused on the future and on how industry and politics can work in partnership to re-establish freight volumes and to attract customers back to the Gothenburg Container Terminal. It is the only terminal in Sweden with the capacity to receive the enormous vessels operated by the major international shipping companies. This is vital to the Swedish economy and the role as an industrial nation.

The shipping company representatives who attended the meeting with Mikael Damberg expressed cautious optimism that work at the port could now proceed without interruption, and that the Container Terminal could begin operating at full capacity. Photo: Gothenburg Port Authority

“I believe that we now have a golden opportunity, following a series of positive decisions, including government funding for the deepening of the fairways, that will prove vital for the port in the long term. Labour market representatives have also identified a model that will allow them to move forward on issues surrounding the recent industrial dispute. On the whole, this is creating a great deal of calmness and belief in the port as we move forward. What we agreed on at the meeting was that we have a common duty to demonstrate to owners, customers and other stakeholders that the Port of Gothenburg is once again back on track,” said Mikael Damberg at a press conference held directly after the panel discussion.

The meeting lasted just over an hour and was the first step in establishing a clearly defined dialogue with industry in the wake of the decision to deepen the fairways, and the agreement reached a week or so ago between the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation. The dispute led to volumes at the Port of Gothenburg last year falling to an historically low level with major implications for Swedish industry throughout the country. Volumes at the Container Terminal are now gradually recovering after a downturn that caused many carriers to switch to road transport to and from the continent, with increased costs and environmental load as a result.

The shipping company representatives who attended the meeting with Mikael Damberg expressed cautious optimism that work at the port could now proceed without interruption, and that the Container Terminal could begin operating at full capacity. Container Terminal chief executive Henrik Kristensen was also at the meeting with the shipping companies, which now expect good reasons to emerge that will help them convince their customers around the world to call at Gothenburg to the same extent as before, and to preferably increase their calls.

“I’m pleased with the positive tone of the dialogue between the Minister and the port’s customers. What is required now is that all parties concerned help to establish confidence in the Port of Gothenburg. It is heartening to see that the government acknowledges the Port of Gothenburg as the nationally important freight hub that it has become, and that it is prepared to provide the necessary support,” said Port of Gothenburg chief executive Magnus Kårestedt, who continued:

“Many of the factors that are necessary if the port is to serve trade and industry optimally are now in place.”

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