Recently, the Swedish Minister for Infrastructure presented key elements of the government’s strategic infrastructure plan and budget related to the deepening of the fairways at the Port of Gothenburg.
The decision means that the government will cover almost one-third of the cost of the project, which can now proceed to the next phase. Deeper fairways will allow the very largest vessels, both now and in the future, to call at the Port of Gothenburg fully loaded, opening up potential for more direct services and increased freight volumes between Gothenburg and the world.
The deepening of the fairway will allow container vessels calling at the Port of Gothenburg to take on more containers. For the largest vessels, this represents an increase in capacity of around 50%.
“This decision by the government is good news indeed. It is confirmation that they value the significance of the Port of Gothenburg as the most important freight hub in Scandinavia, handling 30 per cent of our foreign trade. An investment of this magnitude will consolidate our position even further,” said Magnus Kårestedt, Gothenburg Port Authority chief executive, in his response to the decision.
Economies of scale have been the driving force behind the unrelenting increase in the size of freight vessels. This applies to all types of vessels but in particular container vessels, which have doubled in size in just 10 years. The Port of Gothenburg is the only Swedish port that can receive the largest oceangoing container vessels, although the fairway depth is limiting their freight loads on arrival. There are also vessels that are unable to enter the port regardless, and they are forced to head directly for the continent, bypassing Gothenburg completely.
Kårestedt explained: “This makes deepening of the fairways crucial, not only for current traffic but also if we are to receive the next generation of vessels.”