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New guidance for ownership management of municipal ports

05 April 2023

How do Swedish municipal ports work? What do the owner directives and governance look like? And what are the challenges ahead? For anyone wondering, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR) has made a report on how Swedish municipal ports function and how they are affected by the outside world.

Recently, SKR published a report on the web called Ägarstyrning för kommunala hamnar – en handledning.
Who is the target group for this?
“It is primarily aimed at municipal officials who work in port operations, port companies and politicians. For politicians in municipalities that own ports, it can be good to read about how ports work and what to think about when managing them. I have since understood that there is also an interest elsewhere in the industry, but originally the target group was port owners and employees”, says Ulrika Nordenfjäll, administrator at SKR.

What do you want to come out of the report?
“For us, it's about providing support to our members and the development of their businesses. We produce quite a few types of tutorials and manuals like this. In this one, we have also raised questions about preparedness and security, which is an area that has become increasingly important since the Ukraine war started. Issues around the environment and digitization are also things we bring up.”

In concrete terms, what do you hope it will lead to?
“I hope it results in politics being involved in developing how you want to run your port operations, for example in sustainability issues. But I also hope it leads to an increased knowledge of port operations. We have just had an election where politicians have been replaced, so knowledge is needed. Competence development is important.”

What are the challenges for the municipal ports?
“We define them from four perspectives: the green port, the efficient port, the developing port and the safe port. The challenges surrounding sustainability and climate change were actually the reason why we started working on the report. In addition, we have also seen that the ports are working with digitization to increase their efficiency. And when we were actually finished, we realized that the issue of crisis and security also had to be raised.”

The report describes the situation but does not give any advice on how to act as an owner. What is the idea behind this?
"Within SKR, we do not work with advice and guidelines on how to do things, but we highlight different examples of how certain ports work with different issues. Then it is up to each owner and port to learn from each other. The important thing for us is to show that there has been a development and that there are opportunities to manage port companies together in different ways."

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