The Port of Gothenburg escaped the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead enjoyed an increase in container traffic, according to its annual financial results.
The Port said its TEU volume increased by 0.5% year-on-year (YoY) in 2020 as vessel traffic was not interrupted. However, rail TEU traffic fell by 3% and other areas of its operations suffered substantial losses.
Roll on-roll off traffic declined by 6.5% and passenger volume plummeted by 66%. The biggest fall was seen in its cruise segment, which suffered a loss of 81%.
Elvir Dzanic, Gothenburg Port Authority chief executive, said the Port had made a number of changes at the beginning of the pandemic to maintain operations.
“2020 posed major challenges for everyone in and around the Port of Gothenburg and our flexibility and capacity to adapt have been put to the test. In the light of the prevailing conditions and in hindsight we did almost everything right. Each and every one of the terminal operators at the port should be congratulated.
“In the short term, our attention was focused on operational aspects, ensuring that we continued to be an asset for industry as we navigated our way through this difficult process.
“This was achieved in part by assuring access for industry to empty containers in times of shortage in many parts of the world. We also made sure interim storage capacity was available, and we guaranteed full, uninterrupted functionality throughout the port.
““We strengthened our balance sheet during the year in various ways, including a reduction in future borrowing requirements. This has allowed us to continue investing in climate initiatives, digitalisation, and other areas that are of value to the customer.
“These will in the future ensure freight can be transported even more efficiently and with greater consideration given to the environment.”
The Port of Gothenburg is the largest port in the Nordic region. Some 30% of Swedish foreign trade passes through the port, including half of all TEU traffic. And it was the TEU segment that proved most successful in 2020.
TEU volumes at the port rose by almost one per cent, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the Swedish market, which fell by two per cent according to the latest available statistics.
Dennis Olesen, Managing Director at APM Terminals Nordic, also commented, “We attribute the growth of APM Terminals Gothenburg in a falling market to our broad-based offering and high capacity.
“Faced with the challenges presented by the global pandemic, we still managed to operate feeder traffic and weekly direct services to Asia without any disruptions.
“We have invested heavily in reducing our climate footprint at the terminal, and by the end of the year we were able to report an 88% decrease in carbon emissions and 100% fossil-free container handling.”