The Port of Gothenburg six-monthly report published today (Thursday) shows that European freight volumes strengthened during the first half of the year whilst global container trade fell.
Around 30% of Swedish imports and exports pass through the Port of Gothenburg and fluctuations in the economy are reflected very clearly in variations in freight flows.
Ro-ro traffic, which accounts for a large proportion of seafreight in northern Europe, rose by 3% during the first half of 2014. The highest increases were for trade with Germany (9%), UK (8%) and Belgium (8%). In total, 286,000 ro-ro units were shipped during the period.
Magnus Kårestedt, CEO, Port of Gothenburg, said: “European freight has risen steadily for the past year or so thanks to the recovery in the economy. We have recently seen signs of a slow-down in growth in Europe although this has yet to be replicated in our volumes.”
During the first six months of the year, container traffic fell by 9%, with exports falling more than imports and in total, 424,000teu were shipped via the Port of Gothenburg during the period.
“This could be an indication that Swedish trade with rapidly expanding economies in other parts of the world is not growing at the same rate as previously,” said Mr Kårestedt.
The Port of Gothenburg handles almost 60% of all containers shipped to or from Sweden.
In total, 89,000 new cars passed through the Port of Gothenburg during the first six months of the year, up 17% on the corresponding period last year. The upturn can be attributed largely to the rise in exports of Volvo cars.
Passenger traffic rose by 5% during the first half of the year with a total of 774,000 people choosing to take the sea route to or from Gothenburg for business or pleasure. It has also been a record-breaking year for cruise ship visits with 73 calls (38 during the first half of the year) and 120,000 cruise passengers.
Gothenburg is the location of the largest energy port in the Nordic region and during the first half of the year, there was an 11% fall in crude oil imports and the shipping of refined products such as diesel and petrol. The underlying factors are low margins for refined products and uncertainty about global oil prices.