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New strategy from the Swedish government on freight transports

28 June 2018

On Thursday, Sweden's first national freight transport strategy was presented, which included a national coordinator for domestic shipping.

The purpose of the strategy is to create working conditions for efficient, capacity-strong and sustainable freight transports. The strategy is the first of its kind and is intended to be a platform for continued cooperation in freight transport. The strategy says that all traffic types must be developed as a united transport system.
A large number of actions are listed in the strategy. Some are already introduced or underway, such as the tonnage tax and eco bonus system. Others are thought to be implemented. Several of the actions have been presented earlier in the National Infrastructure Plan.

The efforts reported in the strategy and the ongoing work focuses on achieving:

  1. Competitive and sustainable freight transport
  2. Conversion to fossil-free transport
  3. Innovation, skills and knowledge

The strategy can be found in Swedish here:

Below, some of the actions that concerns shipping.

A national coordinator for increased domestic shipping and short sea shipping shall be appointed
The Swedish government estimates that a multiannual effort is needed for coordination to take advantage of shippings potential. The coordinator will be placed at the Swedish Transport Administration and have a time-limited assignment of six years. The coordinator, in dialogue with stakeholders, will develop and implement an action plan that promotes domestic shipping and short sea shipping, which also promotes low-emission, energy-efficient solutions. The coordinator shall also initiate and promote cooperation between stakeholders. The coordinator should also have a knowledge-spreading function and conduct a dialogue with transport buyers, freight forwarders, ports, municipalities, shipping companies and other relevant actors on the possibilities to diversify freight transport from land to sea in different ways. The mission also includes analyzing how dry docks and transhipment vessels for inland waterways can be developed to contribute to increased shipping, including the link to infrastructure investment, to contribute to increased port capacity and productivity, reduced congestion, reduced negative environmental impact and regional development.

More inland waterways
The Government has instructed the Transport Agency to review whether more water areas could be classified as so-called inland waterways.

Continued dialogue and cooperation for increased maritime transport
The government has initiated a dialogue with ports, municipalities and other relevant actors on the possibilities to work together in various ways to stimulate the transfer of goods from land to sea transport while achieving increased energy efficiency and climate performance. The government's ambition is that the dialogue should generate increased cooperation between stakeholders, but also concrete proposals on what different actors can do individually and together to increase the share of maritime transport and reduce ship's emissions.

High transhipment costs
In order to increase the incentives for choosing transport arrangements that include shipping and rail, the government intends to analyze the need for and how intermodal transport can be promoted, where transhipment money could be an alternative.

Tonnage tax
The government intends to monitor and evaluate the effects of the new tonnage tax system. In particular, it should analyze the impact of the introduction of tonnage tax on the share of Swedish registered ships. If the evaluation shows that the shipping companies that have chosen tonnage taxation do not have any Swedish flagged vessels in their fleet, there may be grounds for investigating the reasons for this.

Environmental management fees
Economic instruments, such as fare charges, should be used in such a way that incentives for environmental improvement measures are clear and that those involved in such measures are rewarded. The government is in favor of a more controlling differentiation of fees where possible and appropriate.

Research on biofuels
The government supports research aimed at further developing fuels and reducing production costs of biofuels to the transport sector.

International cooperation for reduced emissions from shipping and aviation
The Government intends to continue to contribute actively to IMO's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

Increased shipping electrification
The reduction of the energy tax for land power will be extended.

Display windows in rail and shipping
The government, together with the business community, wants to promote display windows for new technology, such as test and demonstration of smart and flexible transhipment and automatic transport systems in connection with railways and ports ... / ... Shipping is progressing towards becoming more automated and for certain ship segments, completely autonomous (unmanned vessels) ... / ... The Government considers it particularly important for the efforts to increase research and innovation as planned in the field of transport related to shipping. These efforts contribute to promoting high-quality freight transport by shipping and provide increased opportunities for export of sustainable solutions.

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