Digging deeper at the Port of Gothenburg proves profitable

09:49 - 11 Apr 2017 / Press

A deeper fairway into the Port of Gothenburg would be a profitable investment for society. Every krona invested would produce four kronor in return. This encouraging outcome from a new analysis conducted by the Swedish Transport Administration would make an infrastructure venture of this nature one of the most lucrative in Sweden.

The maximum draught for container vessels needs to be increased from the present 13.5 m to 16.5 m. This will allow all vessels that carry more than 5,000 containers* to load more freight than they do at present.

The fairway leading into the Port of Gothenburg needs to be deepened by around four metres if the port is to be able to receive the new generation of freight vessels that seem to be constantly growing in stature. In just ten years, the average container vessel has doubled in size. According to a new report from the Swedish Transport Administration, deepening would allow industry to access the benefits of direct deep-sea services. The investment cost is estimated to be in the region of four billion kronor.

The Swedish Transport Administration has analysed the socioeconomic benefit of the investment. What is termed the benefit-cost ratio is 3.04. This means that the benefit of the measures taken would far exceed the cost. Every invested krona would give society four in return, resulting in a net yield of three kronor.

Magnus Kårestedt, Gothenburg Port Authority Chief Executive, said: “This is a record-breaking figure and makes the deepening of the fairway one of the most profitable projects for the future in Sweden.” 

Magnus Kårestedt explained: “The fairway is a bottleneck. The largest vessels can only take on 50 per cent of their capacity and certain vessels are unable to call at Gothenburg and are thus forced to bypass Sweden completely.”

The Swedish Transport Administration’s calculations show that Swedish import and export companies could reduce their transport costs substantially if there was greater opportunity to ship their freight directly to and from markets throughout the world. 

The largest vessels are currently unable to arrive at the port fully loaded.

National plan the next step
If deepening of the fairway is to become a reality, the next step must be prioritised in the national infrastructure plan for 2019-2028. The government will ratify the plan in spring 2018.

“With this record-breaking ratio, we are hopeful that the deepening of the fairway will be prioritised. The government has also expressed an ambition to invest in shipping as it is the most cost-effective and environmentally wise means of transporting freight,” said Magnus Kårestedt. 

Fact file: deepening of the fairway at the Port of Gothenburg 
The maximum draught for container vessels needs to be increased from the present 13.5 m to 16.5 m. This will allow all vessels that carry more than 5,000 containers* to load more freight than they do at present. The largest vessels that call at the Port of Gothenburg can currently carry 19,500 containers. Around one million cubic metres of material would need to be excavated (equivalent to 24 times the volume of the Globe Arena in Stockholm). The area that would need to be deepened is almost five kilometres long and the investment cost is estimated to be in the region of four billion kronor.

 

*Calculated as 20-foot equivalent units, teu. 

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