The Port of Gothenburg in Sweden had its worst year ever for container volumes in 2017, due to prolonged labour issues. The number of boxes moving through the port plunged 19% to 644,000 teu from 798,000 teu in the previous corresponding period.
The port said in a press release that strong performances in other sectors had enabled the total freight volume to remain stable at just over 40m tonnes, basically the same as the previous year.
Placing much of the blame on the long-running labour dispute between the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union and the terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg, Port of Gothenburg CEO Magnus Kårestedt said: “This is a downturn that we have never been close to at any point in the history of the port, and it took place in a year when container trade globally had increased. It is difficult to put into words the seriousness of the situation.”
More than 70% of Swedish international trade goes by sea, and at Gothenburg – Scandinavia’s largest port – trade with countries outside Europe relies on container vessels.