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New demands on ports are analyzed

29 January 2021

As transport increases, there is a need to move goods from land to sea. What does that require of the ports? A coming pre-study within the Swedish Transport Administration's industry program Sustainable Shipping will focus on the ports' critical role in the transport system.

- More knowledge is needed to better understand how the port infrastructure satisfies society's needs today and in the future. Many smaller ports have problems with competition from larger ports whilst the long-running conflict in the port of Gothenburg showed that there is a vulnerability in the system, says Linnea Kjellsdotter Ivert at VTI who leads the work within the project Intressentanalys av Sveriges hamninfrastruktur.

A port is not an isolated business - its success and development is highly dependent on existing land infrastructure, other ports, trends and customer needs.

- It is important to look at how the business meets requirements from different stakeholders. There’s transport buyers, shipping companies, logistics operations, authorities and so on.

The aim of the pre-study is to generate new and applied knowledge to be able to achieve the transport- and climate policy goals. This is, of course, a broad goal, especially for a pre-study. It is therefore primarily a matter of obtaining a good basis for a future main study.

- Within the project group, we have discussed a lot about which issues one should focus on. How does increased transport demand affect Sweden's ports? How are the transports distributed on different port routes? Which product groups are expected to increase/decrease? How will different trends affect? Those are some questions we find interesting to work with.

A previous Lighthousestudy shows that a transfer of goods from land to sea can lead to that increased traffic mainly ends up in small ports. Therefore Linnea Kjellsdotter Ivert and her colleagues will place a special focus on small ports and how they can prepare for increased transport demand. The project includes a case study of the port of Uddevalla.
- Uddevalla work a lot on how to take a slightly larger slice of the cake. There, they have many thoughts and ideas.

Will the role of the ports change in the future?

- I can only speculate, but I think so. In a fossil-free transport system, the port will play an important role. Shipping is a mode of transport with an enormous capacity and the port will be something much more than now; a node or terminal that creates opportunities for intermodal transport.

The feasibility study Stakeholder analysis of Sweden's port infrastructure is carried out by researchers at VTI and SSPA in collaboration with the Port of Uddevalla and the Municipality of Uddevalla. In August 2021, it should be ready.

Read the article Small ports are expected to receive most of the traffic

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