Skip to main content

Transport to and from Sweden takes place primarily by sea

10 January 2023

Domestically, trucks are used, while transport to and from Sweden is mostly by sea. According to a survey from Transport analysis, 69 percent of imported goods arrive by sea.

In the survey, which was commissioned by the government, Transport analysis takes a closer look at how large a volume of goods is imported and exported, which are the most important product groups and with which types of traffic the transport takes place.

The quantities of goods transported to and from Sweden make up approximately one third of the country's total transported goods. And while transport within the country mainly uses Swedish-registered trucks, roughly 60 percent of cross-border transport is by sea (69 percent of incoming freight flows and 53 percent of outgoing). The remaining 40 percent goes to equal parts via rail and road.

Sweden's exports and imports have been stable over time, with the exception of imports from Russia, which have decreased in the last ten years and ceased completely with the Ukraine war. Exports are largely made up of ores, forest industry products and petroleum, while the most important commodity groups in imports include crude oil, chemicals and agricultural and forestry products.

Since Sweden's trading partners are geographically concentrated in the immediate area, and to a lesser extent the USA, the Middle East and China, the flows of goods to and from Sweden are concentrated on a few major routes, a few important ports and fixed bridge connections. Transport analysis has measured which type of traffic is used at the border, which means that the iron ore exported via the port of Narvik in Norway is counted here as rail and not shipping.

As for shipping, it is the ports of Gothenburg, Brofjorden, Helsingborg, Malmö, Trelleborg, Stockholm that have the largest exchange of goods with foreign countries. The port of Gothenburg has a particularly important function with ro-ro, container, car and tanker vessels, but there are also more specialized large ports such as Brofjorden for petroleum and Helsingborg, Trelleborg and Malmö for ro-ro cargo. The largest export ports for goods are on the west coast and many of the ships have their destinations in the major European ports. There are also direct transports to other continents from here, writes Transport analysis.

In Europe, there are important port destinations in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany (for example Zeebrügge, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg) and in Great Britain (for example Immingham and London). Between the west coast and Denmark there is an important route which on the Swedish side includes the ports of Gothenburg, Halmstad and Helsingborg and on the Danish side Fredrikshamn, Grenå and Helsingör. Other important transport routes run between the west and east coasts and Finland. The traffic maintains important freight flows between Sweden and Finland, but is also important for the flows that are transported in transit through Sweden, Transport analysis states in the report.

Read the report (in swedish)

Dela på