Sweden has the EU’s longest coastline and thus excellent conditions to make short sea shipping an important complement or even alternative to transportation by road and rail. This is particularly the case as the transport system on land is facing major challenges both in terms of capacity and the environment. Much of the freight which currently goes by land could be moved out to sea, thereby generating benefits for both the environment and congestion. However, this requires investments to be made in aspects such as improving rail connections with ports.
Today’s infrastructure debate largely concerns road versus rail. The significance of shipping is not addressed to the same extent. At this year’s Almedalen week, CMP consequently took the initiative to hold a debate on precisely this issue – how short sea shipping can solve Sweden’s transport problem. Leading representatives involved in traffic issues from the respective sectors took part. They were in agreement that shipping has great potential, but disagreed on which methods are most suitable to strengthen shipping. These disagreements include ideological differences regarding the extent to which political means of control should be used to influence transport routes for freight.
Shipping has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre and tonne of freight of all kinds of transport. There would therefore be much to gain in increasing the proportion of freight transported by sea.
Among other initiatives, in the autumn the Government will be presenting a maritime strategy for Sweden with the aim of strengthening Swedish shipping. This might elevate the importance of local shipping for the transport system to the level it deserves.