In November the business daily Dagens Industri reported that Skåne has ”rejected” the Swedish government’s infrastructure plan. The background is that there is a risk of several large traffic initiatives in the region not coming to fruition. CMP, which has long been pressing for regional infrastructure investments, agrees with the criticism.
It was in early November that the representative for Region Skåne expressed dissatisfaction with the Swedish government’s infrastructure plan, with SEK 522 billion to be invested in the traffic network during the period 2014 to 2025. In June the Swedish Transport Administration presented the plans, which have subsequently been under consideration by various bodies including actors in Skåne.
The article in Dagens Industri (DI) observes that Skåne will receive less than ten per cent of the SEK 281 billion that will go on development of the transport system. Mikael Stamming is Director of Development in Region Skåne. He feels that the lack of investments in the railway network in the region might jeopardise the export industry’s competitiveness. He also points out that half of the value of Sweden’s overall exports pass through Skåne.
”We are worried for the sake of the export industry”. In his DI article, Mikael Stamming says that our labour market is also dependent on properly functioning commuting to and from work.
According to the DI article, the region considers that a further SEK 16 billion should be put into new rail initiatives, especially as freight traffic is expected to increase substantially in coming years, partly as a result of the Fehmarn Bält tunnel between Germany and Denmark being completed.
”The Danes are anticipating twice as many goods trains over the Öresund bridge after Fehmarn Bält as the Swedish Transport Administration does”, says Gösta Ahlberg, project strategist at Region Skåne.
More freight via Malmö
CMP has long been pushing the issue of regional investments in infrastructure, not least in its contacts with regional and national decision makers. Previously during the autumn the company also submitted comments to the Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communication regarding the forthcoming infrastructure plan. And CMP’s Deputy CEO Lennart Pettersson agrees that this plan includes too few investments in Skåne and in the ports in the region.
”The projections that the Transport Administration has backed estimate turnover in the ports in Skåne to increase by 70 to 90 per cent. And this growth is expected to have the greatest impact in the port in Malmö”, he says.
”Even today the calculation is that 400,000 – 500,000 lorries will be generated from the operations in and around the port in Malmö. By creating well functioning solutions to convey freight onwards by rail, transport by road can be reduced”, he continues.
The capacity in the freight yards is one particular area where Lennart Pettersson wants to see investments for the future. At the same time better land connections to and from the ports are needed in order to make today’s bottlenecks disappear.
”We have proposed a railway bridge to connect Mellersta Harbour and Northern Harbour. This measure is of national interest as it will increase the capacity of Malmö’s freight yard. In turn it will lead to increased capacity for the overall freight traffic on the Södra main line, south- and northbound, via Malmö, he says.
Matching is important
Lennart Pettersson emphasises how important it is that all actors take a shared responsibility for infrastructure developments and contribute to ensuring that the initiatives that have to be taken match up.
”Malmö City and CMP will continue to make major investments in Northern Harbour to develop a trimodal logistics centre where sea/rail traffic and road traffic can meet and reloading can take place in an effective and environmentally friendly way”.
”However, developing the transport system as a whole demands better matching. For example, the connections for land transports to and from the port in Malmö – which is typical of the state’s areas of responsibility – must also have a high capacity and quality”.
According to the DI article, the government is expected to make a decision on the national infrastructure plan during spring 2014.