In recent weeks, I have taken part of a couple of analyses regarding the consequences of the conflict in the port of Gothenburg.
It is no cheerful reading.
The effects are much bigger than many may think. Large areas of business across the country have been affected.
Personally, I think it's unfortunate that it has gone this far.
First, I read an article with John Wedel, Head of Infrastructure and Logistics at Business Region Gothenburg. A few days later, I heard a radio interview with Johan Woxenius, Professor of Shipping Transport Economics and Logistics at the School of Economics at the University of Gothenburg.
Both have come up with essentially the same thing; APM loses huge sums, within Hamnfyran members are losing their jobs, Gothenburg loses establishments in the long run, business is hit by cost increases and loss of income, the environment is adversely affected, and several traders are forced to shut down or go bankrupt. Simply put, it’s shit.
In a survey conducted by The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, 25 percent of the 478 participating companies said that they were affected by the conflict. More than half of the companies have also been forced to take action in order to reduce the negative effects.
As many as 13 percent say they completely avoid Gothenburg's port.
In addition to trucks and trailers, the train lines to the container terminal at the port have also been adversely affected. One clear example is that SCT Transport announced that it is shutting down its rail terminal in Jönköping as a result of the conflict.
In Wedel's analysis, it is hard to name an exact figure of the amount of additional costs, but it could be several billions within a year. According to John Wedel, it is mainly industrial and trading companies who have suffered the most from the conflict.
Wedel says in an interview in Sjöfartstidningen:
"The industry believes there are a lot of companies that will not be able to push through this, but will be forced to shut down their businesses. And this is during a current boom. No one has made a total compilation of all costs and that’s a shame, because if you could have been able to point out exactly how big the bill is, that would put a lot more pressure on the politics to take care of this.”
Recently, the government appointed an investigation to review the rules of combat actions. The result of this investigation will be presented in late May 2018.
"The business community feels like that i very far away. In the company world, a quick investigation would be done within a month," said John Wedel in Sjöfartstidningen.
According to Wedel, the harbor conflict also has major negative effects on the environment.
"Now you can really see the increase at the E6, just how many trucks that operate the road; there are large volumes, which were previously run through the port. And more often than not, the trucks are not very environmentally friendly,” says John Wedel, who believes that the long-term effects are even more dangerous.
"New companies will not want to establish their businesses here, and some of the big companies with many manufacturing facilities in the world may choose to move their production from Sweden in the long run. For example, Akzo Nobel has said that if the port of Gothenburg does not work, they may have to move their operations. Of course, this also means that the service industries, such as technical consultants and subcontractors, will be affected.”
John Wedel says that the conflict costs more than we think while at the same time paralyzing the businesses in the Gothenburg region.
"If we do not resolve the situation in the port, Gothenburg's attractiveness in terms of development, expansion and establishment, will be reduced – much like Gothenburg's current function as a logistics hub. If you are to establish yourself somewhere, there are many things to consider – there must be land, a good academy, research, development centers and so on. However, the port is an incredibly important component of that equation. If we remove it, nothing will separate us from any other city. Overall, the conflict is a conflict with nothing but losers. APM is losing huge amounts of money, within Hamnfyran many members are losing their jobs, Gothenburg might be losing establishments in the long run, the business community is suffering from cost increases and loss of income, the environment suffers, and many small businesses are forced to shut down or go bankrupt. The whole thing is deeply tragic.