The number of rail departures between the Port of Gothenburg and Piteå is being increased from one a week to two. The shuttle service offers a significant reduction in carbon emissions and cuts the transport time by almost a week.
“The solution has attracted a great deal of interest in industrial circles and it has in effect sold itself. There’s no question that the environmental benefits of rail shuttles are very much in keeping with the times,” said Nikolas Rowland, chief executive of the freight forwarding company First Row Shipping & Logistics AB, which is responsible for the expansion.
The rail shuttle between the Port of Gothenburg and Piteå began operating in April 2021 and a further departure each week has now been added. This represents a doubling of capacity to 144 containers (TEU*) per week. Compared with a feeder solution via the Baltic, carbon emissions are reduced by 87 per cent** and the transport time by almost a week.
The obvious advantages of rail have led to an increase in demand for shuttle services to northern Sweden. First Row Shipping & Logistics AB has responded with plans to introduce a third departure at the beginning of 2022.
“There’s a strong focus on Gothenburg in the container sector and we have received numerous enquiries about rail services to other locations using the Port of Gothenburg as a hub,” said Nikolas Rowland.
Freight movements by rail can be coordinated effectively with ship departures, which means containers can be turned around quickly. After making the 1400-kilometre journey from Piteå, the trains arrive directly at the container terminal operated by APM Terminals. The freight can then be lifted straight onto the ship for onward transport worldwide.
At present around 60 per cent of landside container freight is transported by rail to and from the port. In an effort to increase rail volumes of both containers and trailers, the Gothenburg Port Authority has made a series of investments to facilitate rail traffic, serving industry throughout the whole of Sweden.
Key investments made at the port in recent years include the rail-linked Svea transshipment terminal as well as the Arken Combi Terminal. The last single-track section of the Port Line is in the process of being converted into a double-track system, and will be completed in 2023.
“This means that the entire freight hub in the Port of Gothenburg will be strongly equipped for increased volumes. The rapidly growing rail shuttle to Piteå and the fact that more terminals are in the process of joining the Railport systems proves that our investments are timely”, said Antti Laakso, Senior Manager, Logistics Development at the Gothenburg Port Authority.
* One TEU is equivalent to a 20-foot container.
** Source: IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute.