Sunday , 19 January 2020
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The Port of Gothenburg, which handles some 70 per cent of Sweden’s container traffic, claims to have saved 42,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2007 by transporting goods to and from the port by rail instead of by road – equivalent to 200,000 flights between Gothenburg and Stockholm or the annual emissions of 14,000 passenger cars.

Gothenburg’s rail shuttles slash emissions

The volume of goods carried by rail to the Port, the largest in the Nordic region, has risen sharply in recent years, and it is investing heavily to expand its rail traffic. Together with rail operators, industrial companies, forwarding agents, shipping lines and the National Rail Administration, it has built up a system of rail shuttles over the past 10 years. The first shuttle began operating to Karlstad, and the number has now risen to 22, with daily departures to 21 towns in Sweden. 

The rail shuttles provide a direct link between the Port and towns throughout Sweden. Rather than companies moving their freight to the Port themselves, it is driven to the nearest inland terminal before being loaded onto a train bound for Gothenburg. 

“We see no limit to this explosive rate of development. The demand for rail shuttles is enormous. Certain shipping lines even insist that their goods are forwarded by rail,” said Eric Nilsson, head of the Port of Gothenburg Rail Centre (PGRC). 
Last year, the PGRC handled 190,000 containers. In seven years its volumes have more than trebled and 38 per cent of containerised goods now arrive at the Port by rail shuttle, a unique figure by international standards. 

“The rate of increase would be even greater if it weren’t for our limited capacity to receive the goods. This is something we are working steadfastly to improve. Investment in infrastructure in the form of more and better tracks is also necessary to meet the demand,” said Nilsson.