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Benefits to outweigh Gothenburg dredging bill

GOTHENBURG, Sweden: April 18, 2017. A report by the Swedish Transport Administration (STA) says the SEK4.0 billion cost of deepening the approach to the Port of Gothenburg to accommodate the world's largest container ships will result in a threefold gain to the country's economy.

Gothenburg Port Authority CEO Magnus Kårestedt called the deepening of the five kilometers approach to the container port from 13.5 meters to 16.5 meters "one of the most profitable projects for the future in Sweden".

ACL GOTKårestedt said that at present box ships with a capacity of over 5,000 TEU can only load 50 percent of their capacity while some are so large they are unable to make a port call and are forced to bypass Sweden completely.

The STA calculates that Swedish importers and exporters could reduce their transport costs substantially if there was greater opportunity to ship their freight directly to and from Gothenburg.

"With this record-breaking [cost-benefit] ratio, we are hopeful that the deepening of the fairway will be prioritized," said Kårestedt. "The government has also expressed an ambition to invest in shipping as it is the most cost-effective and environmentally wise means of transporting freight," he added.

Gothenburg port traffic figures last year indicate the deepening of the approach is overdue: While overall volumes rose by almost three million tonnes in 2016 - up from 38.2 million to 40.9 million - container volumes fell three percent to 798,000 TEU handled.

"The upturn can be attributed largely to the rise in the number of cars shipped via the port but also to higher volumes at the Energy Port and a good rate of activity at our RoRo terminals," explained Kårestedt. A total of 538,000 RoRo units were shipped last year, up two percent on 2015.

Gothenburg is the largest automotive gateway in Sweden - handling imports from Mazda, Nissan and Renault and exports from Volvo. Last year saw a 15 percent increase in throughput to 246,000 cars, up 15 percent on 2015 and the highest figure since the financial crisis of 2008.

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