Limit Postnords possibilities in a new directive!

By: Thomas Ström 12/18/15

In connection with the Retail Trade’s Logistics Day in Stockholm a few weeks ago Erik Ottosson, a Member of Parliament, spoke about a new motion.
The motion concerns the fact that the state as an owner clearly has to explain to Postnord's management that it is not right that the company is taking over a growing share of activities currently conducted by private operators.
This is because of a new owner directive, which is now being drafted. 

I think that it’s positive that this is really put under the microscope. Several times in my blog, I have pointed out how state companies are destroying an already highly competitive industry. Sure, I speak on my own behalf, but I know I'm not the only one who thinks along these lines.
Many in the industry with me do not believe that these companies should get extended capabilities. Instead, they should have restrictions!
They could eliminate competition by offering unhealthy conditions.

An obvious example is the transports from Sweden to Continental Europe.
These state-owned companies can provide transports that they do not have to finance themselves. They can make losses and still get the business in order by using government subsidies.

This is very provocative given that we have other carriers and shippers already subsidizing the export traffic for Swedish business to the rest of Europe. The fact of the matter is that it’s cheaper to send a shuttle from Stockholm to Hanover than it is to send a rig from Hamburg to the same final destination.

The reason for us in the Swedish transport sector to still be doing these transports is that we have to get our vehicles to the continent in order to offer transport to Sweden. It is on these transports we earn our money, which helps to cover our costs.
If Postnord and similar state companies are offering even lower rates, soon the rest of us will not be able to participate at all. 

A tip from the readership: "The tunnel in Hallandsåsen took just as long to build as Göta Kanal"

By: Thomas Ström 12/4/15

After last week's blog post about the much-awaited inauguration of Hallandsåsen (on the 8th of December), I received a number of comments.
One of them was especially notable.
It came from Tommy Landin in Helsingborg, who made an exiting comparison between the tunnel through Hallandsåsen and Göta Kanal!

I thank you for the tip, which meant I got to read about one of Sweden's absolutely vastest construction projects ever.

When it comes to the construction period, the two infrastructure projects are actually quite similar. It took 23 years to complete Hallandsåsen and 22 years to build Göta Kanal. The difference being that the canal was built in the 19th century!
More exactly between 1810 and 1832. Worth considering in this context is that at this time there was only dynamite and shovels to use as tools.

Undisputedly, the project in Hallandsåsen has been about getting through a mountain, but given the resources available today it is remarkable that it would take this long.
I find that this even more underlines my thesis that an extensive and fundamental background work was not conducted before the project started. Ultimately, a lot was taken for granted before the first drill in the mountain.

Therefore, I really want to give prominence to Baltzar von Platen and his crew, who created the communication links between the Baltic Sea and Kattegatt. An amusing fact is that the actual reason behind the project was that the Swedes grew tired of paying expensive customs duties to the Danish when passing the current Swedish south.

The canal is 118 miles long. Of these, nearly 56 miles are blasted and dug out canal. Along with Göta Älv and Trollhättekanal, it forms a 242 miles long waterway across Sweden. Here are also 58 floodgates. It has to be said – it was an unprecedented project.

I also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Örgryte IS for qualifying to Superettan after winning against Mjällby AIF.

Furthermore, I enjoy following the rampage of Frölunda Indians in SHL. Me, and many with me, however, are waiting for the day and the game when we will get to see all of the players in top form at the same time.
One can only hope that this will occur during the playoffs, which I'm looking forward to with confidence. 

Pictured: the steamboat Venus at Billströmmen, Göta Kanal 1898. Photo from the Swedish Tourist Association, photographer: Axel Sjöberg



By: Thomas Ström 11/30/15

The tunnel through Hallandsåsen about to be opened




This time, I begin with Gert Fylking’s classic quote when he over several years in live radio conveyed the Swedish Academy's announcement of this year's Nobel Laureates in Literature.
"Finally". On December 8th, the tunnel through Hallandsåsen will be inaugurated.

The Swedish Transport Administration calls it "Sweden's most challenging infrastructure project". That’s understandable. Who would have thought that it would take 23 years! But soon it's time to open the double track that will increase capacity from four to 24 trains per hour. That means more awaited freight, while the interference at Västkustbanan is reduced.

I completely agree with the Swedish Transport Administration about the two 8.7 kilometers long parallel tunnels through the ridge, which will mean a lot to travelers and the business community, locally, regionally and nationally.
But at what cost?

Awhile back I saw a list over the world’s worst infrastructure projects, when it comes to value for money invested. The tunnel through Hallandsåsen was on that list.

In the beginning the tunnel was budgeted to 585 million SEK. The final bill landed on 10.8 billion! And this is despite a lot of costs probably – I think – have been concealed. I actually believe that certain costs of the project ended up on other charge accounts.

The background to this preposterous bill is that project work was not made "from scratch".

Another negative aspect for us who have followed the tunnel through the years is that we have learned the name Rhoca Gil.
It was an effective sealant, which in the mid 90s was used to seal the tunnel from leaking water. The water in the streams and wells on the ridge disappeared. Rhoca Gil was a good sealant, but it caused emissions of acrylamide. Cows and fish became paralyzed and died. Tunnel workers suffered from nerve damages. In October 1997 the tunnel work was stopped, with an investigation and subsequent remediation as a result. After that, it took until 2004 before the work in the tunnel started again.

Indisputably, the finished tunnel will acquire several positive effects.
In addition to increased freight traffic, it will increase all kinds of relationships between Skåne and the rest of the country.
One example is that up until now, you have been able to hear almost all of our country’s dialects at Halmstad Central Station. Except for the Skåne-dialect! The reason for this is that it was almost impossible to take the train from Malmö, Helsingborg or Ängelholm to Halland's largest city. From December 13th, when the trains start running in the tunnel, this will probably change.

Considering the background of how this project has evolved and the huge money it has cost compared to the initial budget, I think it’s best to think twice if it’s really necessary to push through Västlänken in the way it is supposed to be done now.
I really hope that this project has been planned from the ground.
Otherwise there’s a risk that the second largest city in Sweden's will be paralyzed for a very long time.

Photo: Tunnel in Hallandsås / Trafikverket


I do not believe in the positive effects of introduction of tonnage

By: Thomas Ström 11/25/15

Earlier this fall, the minister of infrastructure Anna Johansson gave notice of the government proposing an implementation of a Swedish tonnage tax system.
As I – and many with me – see it, this is at least 20 years too late. It should have been done much sooner.

The background to the proposal is that Swedish shipping companies operating internationally should be able to compete on equal terms with carriers in other European countries. The minister of infrastructure Anna Johansson emphasizes that the tonnage tax system will result in more Swedish-owned ships. The minister also says that the tonnage tax system will be of great importance for the jobs and that it is a step forward in Sweden having the EU’s lowest unemployment rate in 2020.

These assertions I find hard to believe. The government has to be more transparent in this.

Sure, it’s good with a tonnage tax system. The problem is that it’s implemented way too late. The damage is already done. The Swedish carriers have “flagged out” most of their ships, while forced to accept and learn to live by the normal working tax.

Moreover, the proposed tax change is optional. Either you choose to pay taxes the way it’s done today or you can start with the tonnage tax system, whose setup the remaining carriers are pensive about. I don’t believe that this will lead to a dramatic increase of Swedish-flagged ships. I hope I’m wrong.

Neither do I believe that the proposed system will bring many new jobs, certainly not as many that it would affect the employment in a dramatic way.

The boats that are affected from the proposition are freight boats, and normally there are 10-12 persons working on them. That’s not a lot. For there to be any impact on the employment, Sweden has to reach 10 000 freighters, compared to today’s scarce 500. Also, most Swedish carriers rent manpower from countries outside of Scandinavia. The commanders are often Swedish, Norwegian or Danish. In other words, there are not many new job opportunities.

I know that within the Swedish shipping there’s an estimation that the introduction of tonnage tax will provide 300 new Swedish-flagged vessels and 17 000 jobs over the next ten years. This is based on the effect tonnage tax had in other countries. But that was a long time ago.
Within the maritime industry there’s a saying that a job opportunity on board equals four jobs on land. The question is if that really holds up.

But of course, if we would get 10 000 Swedish freight ships, that would mean more momentum in our Swedish ports. In practice, this will mean that a freight boat will put to at Gothenburg’s port every two minutes. That’s about as much traffic as in Singapore. In Singapore there are nearly 1 250 cranes. In the largest port in Scandinavia there are five! 


Photo: Derell Licht/Flickr


The landlord will not acknowledge the lawsuit

By: Thomas Ström 11/6/15

– But for how long have their lawyers been working on the issue? 


In last week’s media we could read about the lawsuit we at NTEX filed against our previous landlord Hemfosa Fastigheter.
In the articles we could also read about representatives who expressed that they did not have any knowledge about the lawsuit nor the amount of 75 million SEK.

This is fairly odd since the process has been going on for quite some time and it is in the hands of theirs and our lawyers. The fact that they do not know anything about the lawsuit nor the amount has to mean that they do not have any communication whatsoever with their attorneys. Of course, this is not the case. They know exactly what is going on. But to act like this is right along Hemfosa’s strategy.

Long before the lawsuit was filed, we tried to contact our landlord by phone and e-mail in order for a sit down, where we could have sorted out what happened. All along, our ambition has been to try to reach a solution instead of a latching. But in this case, that has proven to be like throwing a coin down a bottomless well – you never hear the splash.

During this “ride” it has become very clear that Hemfosa often has conflicts with their tenants and just as often it ends with a legal process instead of, as many other property owners would have acted, try solving the problem in accordance with the tenant. Against this background it would be interesting to partake in their bookkeeping and see their costs for counsels.

I interpret Hemfosa’s actions as them being aware that they are wrong. This whole matter concerns the floor in the terminal we were renting and the fact that it did not comply with the lease we made. The concrete plate was inferior, which resulted in us not being able to conduct our business the way we planned.

A clear sign of this is that just after we moved out from the premises, they started to open up the floor. While doing so, it was revealed that some of the piles that are supposed to support the concrete plate, were no longer attached directly to the floor. Consequently, the floor was not anchored on the piles.

I thank our lucky stars that we were spared any major accidents and that we no longer have any business in the premises in question.


Why no road wear fee before 2018?

By: Thomas Ström 10/23/15

The Swedish Green Party promised before the election to introduce a kilometer tax for truck traffic. Stefan Löfven has said that road wear fees, another name for kilometer taxes, will finance the expansion of roads and railroads.
But the infrastructure minister Anna Johansson announced a while back that “road wear fees have proven to be complicated to implement due to legal and technical reasons” and that this kind of tax will not be introduced during this mandate up to 2018.

I think that this is entirely wrong. Why should it not be possible to implement this in Sweden? It works in several other countries. And complex legal and technical reasons do not seem to be an obstacle once the decision has been made. Just look at the introduction of congestion taxes here in Gothenburg. It went in no time at all.

When it comes to the road wear fee, I think that it should be a part of the vehicle tax. Both occupational as well as civil traffic pay for their vehicle taxes and fuel here in Sweden. But foreign vehicles do not pay anything. That makes the competition distorted.
When we are abroad, in Germany for example, we have to pay road wear fees because we don’t pay any vehicle taxes there.

Finally, I look forward to following Örgryte IS in the upcoming qualifiers to Superettan. From the looks of it now, with two rounds left, they will meet either former Swedish League team Mjällby AIF or IK Frej from Täby. 


Photo: Mitten via Wikimedia Commons


Why do car drivers lose their mind when using a bike helmet?

By: Thomas Ström 10/19/15

It has happened again. Actually, it happens almost every day.
What, you wonder?
Well, the fact that I was really close to hitting a bicyclist – a bicyclist who seems to believe that no traffic rules apply to him, simply because he is traveling on two wheels without a motor.

Suddenly all traffic rules cease to exist.

The number of bicyclists increases steadily. It is a positive phenomenon in many aspects. But when it comes to wit in traffic it is an utter disaster.

Notable in the context is that the worst bicyclists are the ones who have a driver's license and regularly drive a car. I'm convinced of it. When these people put the bike helmet on, they simply don't give a damn that there are traffic rules. Somehow, it seems as if the bike helmet makes them completely stupid.

I can't tell exactly what the reason is, but I believe that it has to do with the fact that – as many times before – the control of the rules is poorly executed. "It doesn't matter if I don't care about the traffic rules by bike, there is no punishment anyways". There's a huge difference if you make a mistake behind the wheel.

This can also be seen in a recent study commissioned by In this study, it is VERY clear that when motorists get behind the bicycle handlebar, they believe that they transform into “better people”.

When the polled motorists sit on the bike, six out of ten believe that they are transformed into "better people" because bicycling is better from an environmental and health point of view. When the motorists choose to take their bikes to work instead of taking the car, 61 percent consider it to be a work out opportunity. Four percent of the motorists say that they're not sure about the traffic rules when it comes to bicycling.

In the study, every fifth person states that they often or sometimes break the traffic rules when bicycling and only 20 percent say that they always keep the traffic rules when using a bike. 16 percent of the motorists experience that many bicyclists often run the red lights.

The bicyclists need to shape up. Or else the accidents will increase dramatically.


Foto: News Oresund via Wikimedia Commons


Exhilarating success and outlines on collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology

By: Thomas Ström 10/9/15

Exciting things are happening here at NTEX. Lately we have been able to read in numerous media channels about our success within the business areas of sea and air, where our market shares have increased drastically.

Earlier this week I was also reached by the news that one of our dispatchers in the sea and air department received a beautiful bouquet of flowers sent to them from a satisfied customer. It’s always nice when these things happen, because it’s a clear evidence that we are doing things right when investing in high accessibility, service and flexibility.

Another pleasing fact is that the entire company continues to increase in the number of postal items and cargos. Behind this increase are satisfied customers in need of more help, in combination with hard work from the sales organization when finding new customers.

In other news, we are currently looking on a possible collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, which might lead to a simpler way of sharing information and connecting processes. For NTEX, this specifically means data collection in the terminal in order facilitate the later stages of the supply chain, e.g. customs clearance.

At the moment an application is being formulated, which will be sent to the EU shortly. If the project happens, which we will know by spring, it will span over three years.

We are working with lecturer Per-Olof Arnäs from Chalmers, who is researching the digitalization of the transport industry. He also runs the podcast Logistikpodden, where several people in our industry are regularly interviewed ( 


Congratulations Ulricehamn! But now it's time for the state to invest in E20 and save lives

By: Thomas Ström 10/5/15

I'd like to start by congratulating Ulricehamn. 
In two weeks a 17 kilometers long new road section of highway 40 will be inaugurated, which makes it possible to drive on a two-lane highway all the way to and from Gothenburg. 

Of course, this will affect Ulricehamn as a municipality. All of a sudden it will become an appealing place for people who wish to live in a smaller city and are willing to commute. As the accessibility gets better, more businesses will want to establish in the area. Moreover, there will be fewer accidents on the highway, etcetera. As I see it, there are only advantages for everyone in and around this cozy little town by lake Åsunden. 

However, as in most cases, there are disadvantages – in this case as well. One of them, which I take very seriously, is that the new highway facilitates for drivers to choose E4 when driving between our country's two largest cities. The E4; which already is very congested by heavy traffic between Skåne (the continent) and Stockholm. 
Can the E4 really handle this without being affected by more accidents and traffic jams?  

Another sad story in this context is the decay of E20 through Skaraborg, Närke,  Södermanland and so forth up to Stockholm. Sure, there have been some investments in for example Götene, where the highway is amazing. But this is not enough for this small section to be the only part of this big road to be in top condition. More resources need to be added immediately. 

A couple of decades ago, E20 was the obvious choice when driving between Stockholm and Gothenburg. What if that could happen again? This would create a balance between the two European roads. 

This way, we would no longer need to hear about all of the accidents occurring today at the E20. I do not have the statistics on this, but even though there is a lower congestion compared to a few years ago, there still occur at least one accident a week on this road. Unfortunately, several of them end up with disablement or a fatal outcome. Think about all of the lives that could have been saved and the suffering that could have been avoided if the state had invested in expanding the E20 20 years ago. 

Do not make me say the same thing in 20 years. 


Photo: E20 väster om Skara/Joel Torsson via Wikimedia Commons


Expand Säve Airport and move the terminal buildings to Norrleden!

By: Thomas Ström 9/25/15

It has now been a few months since the larger planes traffic was stopped at Säve Airport. 
The reason for the closure was, according to Swedavia, that the landing strip and the parking spaces for the aircrafts needed to be repaired for a quarter of a billion, i.e. 250 MSEK. 

If that was the reason, or if there were maybe other reasons that made the previous co-owners – Volvo, Ericsson and Gothenburg Municipality – sell their shares for 1 SEK apiece, I don’t know. Either way, I believe this trio made a bad deal. 

I have talked to some people in the industry who have inspected the airport, and they are convinced that a necessary renovation should cost no more than 50 MSEK. 

Considering this background, I believe that the people who are going to buy Säve from Swedavia should invest in expanding Säve. 
Make it a proper city airport. Compared to how it looks today, I think that the terminal buildings, parking spaces etc. should be moved to the opposite side of the landing strip. This way, the airport would be very easily accessed with entrances and exits directly from Norrleden. 

It would be a boost for the whole city and it would help us avoid long queues and car park problems at Landvetter for a few more years. When it comes to the latter – after the summer I have heard more and more people complaining about the fact that they have had difficulties finding parking lots at Landvetter. 

Furthermore, I think monopolies are never a good idea. 
As a transporter, I would happily be the only actor on the market. But would that help us improve for the customers? Hardly!


Record in shipment and turnover

By: Thomas Ström 9/18/15

We are on a roll at NTEX. 
During the first eighth months of the year, our turnover has been better and we have transported more units than ever during the same period earlier. 

We have transported roughly 119 000 shipments between January and August, which is to be compared to the 96 000 we transported during the corresponding period in 2014. In money, this means a turnover increase of approximately 50 MSEK, from 630 to 680 MSEK. 

The main reason for this increase is that we have decided to transport break bulk cargo in Europe. The goal is to be able to cover all of Europe with this service in the near future. This is also the reason we have initiated partnerships with new agents in Belgium as well as Germany this year. 

Noteworthy in the context is the fact that we are continuing to grow in Great Britain, where we are already one of the largest actors on the market. Although we have seen a downswing the last months due to the strong pound, we still have a significant increase this year when it comes to the number of shipments and turnover. 

Our sea and air freight department is also increasing all over the world. We have made a conscious investment in new customers and our existing customers are realizing that we can care for all of their transports, not only within Europe. 

A lot of customers who switch to NTEX notice that we can offer the same things as the others - only better. I dare say it, because at NTEX we generally follow up on all of our customers and make sure that they know where their shipments are at all times. Moreover, we are always there as an interlocutor to solve the customers' problems. 
We work hard to be able to offer high flexibility and great service. 


We have to educate more traffic officers!

By: Thomas Ström 9/14/15

There are too few traffic officers. With the dramatic increase of traffic on the roads the past decades, the number of traffic officers has radically decreased. 1981 there were 1500 traffic officers in Sweden; today that number is 500. In other words, fewer officers have gotten a whole lot more work to do. 

When it comes to truck transports, the traffic officers should not only check the traffic safety of the vehicle. Nowadays, they should monitor the cabotage regulations, make sure that the driver follows the drive and resting times, check that the goods are secured properly and that dangerous goods are transported in the correct manner etc.
How are they supposed to have time for that? 

The consequence is that the police dispatches ordinary police officers who are not specially trained in the field of traffic and do not know the regulations. This in turn leads to many being stopped and sent on their way without the necessary measures being done since these officers do not know what is incorrect. If we should have these rules, we should be able to make sure that they are followed. 

This is why I believe that it is time for an effort in order for us to have more traffic officers on our roads.
The training can start after New Year. 


Photo: Traffic control / The Swedish Police


Build Frölunda Indians’ new arena in Mölndal

By: Thomas Ström 8/7/15

NTEX understand the importance of sport, and is therefore a big supporter of Frölunda Hockey, and in particular Frölunda Indians, currently playing in Sweden’s highest hockey league. 
Frölunda Indians’ chairman, Mats Grauers, recently started a debate about building a new arena in Gothenburg. However, the politicians showed less than no interest in the debate.  

Because of this debate, I would recommend the association and its chairman Mast Grauers to ignore Gothenburg city, and instead talk to the neighbouring municipality and city, Mölndal. 
Nothing ever happens in Gothenburg. The politicians here are too inactive and ineffective. 

It seems to be different in Mölndal. They are building like crazy. And imagine what a multi-arena would mean for that municipality! People would realise that Mölndal is a city in itself, and a municipality in itself, and not a suburb to Gothenburg, as most people think today.  

Let the arena become a separate company and then let a number of stakeholders buy in to it. Everyone from the individual supporter to Astra Zeneca should have the opportunity. A multi-arena of this sort would be able to hold anything. Not only sport events, concerts, fairs and exhibitions but also a school and other scientific specialisations. If Astra Zeneca is in on the project they could for example do research in sports medicine. Imagine an arena with its own laboratory.  

Interesting visits at Volvo Ocean Race and Almedalsveckan

By: Thomas Ström 6/30/15

Last week, there was a big happening at the harbour in Gothenburg, the final leg of Volvo Ocean Race. After nine months at sea the teams crossed the finish line in Gothenburg. I must say, Volvo managed to create an amazing event.

During the year I have had the privilege to be both in the US (Newport) and Portugal (Lisbon) with Volvo and receive the boats as they came in. Therefore, it was extra special to be part of the festival in Gothenburg. Personally, Saturday was the best day since that is when I had the opportunity to follow the in-harbour race. Once again, with Volvo as a host.

I am impressed by how they take care of their customers throughout the day with fantastic results. Customers are overwhelmed, whether they like sailing or not. Then I was told that Volvo may have a turnover of five times the money in the ROI (return of investment). I can only congratulate them. 

This week, I will focus on Almedalsveckan, which is considered the most important forum in Swedish politics. I arrived on Gotland on Monday and will be here until the end of the week. All organisations, politicians and interest groups in our and related industries are represented here. There will be a lot of exciting workshops and speakers that I will listen to. I will recap some of it here in coming blog entries.

One thing is certain; I will not listen to our Deputy Minister, also environment minister, Åsa Romson (Green Party). After the paint debacle, there is simply no trust left. Imagine being a spokesperson for the Green Party in this time and age and still paint ones boats with copper colour? Then she makes up various unintelligent excuses that easily can be checked. 
They never learn...

I am returning as CEO

By: Thomas Ström 6/8/15

I have decided to return as CEO of the company after an 18 months absence from the day-to-day management. 

I was born and raised in this business and I want to be a part of it for a while longer. I have missed it more than I thought I would and I just simply want to return to managing a business again.

This becomes particularly relevant when we at NTEX find ourselves in a position where we have to put more focus on our clients and our business. 

I now want to help to develop this company, both regarding our traditional trailer business as well as Air & Sea.  

We are a wide-ranging freight forwarder in the UK and we are well on our way to become an established freight forwarder in the rest of Europe as well. In addition, Air & Sea is constantly increasing. We have a well-developed network worldwide in that area. I now want, along with the rest of the company, to make NTEX the market's first choice when it comes to transport and logistics solutions.

In practice this means new and more customer relations, international establishments and agent partnerships.
Our ambition is to always give the customers what they expect when they buy from NTEX.

I am moving in to the office by the end of this week. 
I want to emphasise that Dan Ericsson, current CEO of NTEX, has done a very good job during his time here. 
I want to thank Dan for his contributions and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. 

Driverless cars are soon a reality

By: Thomas Ström 5/29/15

As a solution to the problem of our future transportations, more and more companies are working on driverless trucks.
The idea is that the trucks will drive themselves using autopilot.
When this topic surfaced a few years ago, I thought it was impossible.
But now I am absolutely certain it is possible.

The book 1984 was recently discussed in one of the morning shows on television. When it was published in 1949, it was considered science fiction. The people in the morning show concluded that the world more or less has turned out just as George Orwell predicted. This is particularly true when considering all the cameras that photograph us all the time, "Big Brother is watching you".

Now there are driverless vehicles, which can be seen as an extension of this science fiction reasoning. Volvo and other car manufacturing companies have already presented their prototypes of cars that drive themselves. But not many people know that there already are driverless trucks. In the US, Daimler now has permission to try their driverless semitrailer in the state of Nevada.

The new Daimler Freightliner is designed and equipped to be able to run itself on motorways. A human driver will have full control of the vehicle in city traffic.
The semitrailer will drive in a separate lane from other vehicles and radar sensors and cameras will keep an eye on the surrounding traffic.
The main advantage of this type of vehicle, according to the manufacturer, is that drivers will be more productive and less tired.
For example, while at the same time the truck is driving on the highway the driver can do necessary paperwork in a safe manner, or plan his or her next trip.

These trucks will also be able to use less fuel.
As one can see, research and development has come a long way.
Therefore, a lot points to the fact that we will see trucks driving themselves sooner than people may think.
Consequently, you cannot avoid drawing parallels to the novel 1984.


By: Thomas Ström 5/18/15

However, I will gladly help them come up with solutions on how to make trucking attractive


I have already asked this, but here it goes again: 
Who will drive our trucks in the future?
I look at the driver of every truck I meet on the road and very few of them are young. The development is worrisome. Very few youths decide to work as a trucker.

How do we solve this problem?
I have no idea, since this is not a problem throughout the country. Youths are more likely to work as truckers in smaller towns and villages while it is unthinkable for young people from the bigger cities to choose this occupation. At the same time, salaries differ between countries in the European Union, further complicating the situation.

Why not go for immigrants, arriving from other countries?
We will then have to fight the competition that exists within the EU. Swedish companies do not want to pay more for their transportation than competitors on the continent do.

Whose problem is it to solve?
I think the politicians must step up and invite all the players involved, such as industry organisations, professional colleges and businesses, to a joint discussion. Then, I believe that a solution can be worked out. I would gladly join such a discussion group.

Hemfosa - a disgrace to the real estate market!

By: Thomas Ström 4/27/15

The landlord's actions forces NTEX Logistics to settle

Now we are forced to liquidate our affiliated company, NTEX Logistics. The reason is our landlord, Hemfosa Real Estate. The floor in the terminal is defective, and it can only hold for 15 percent of the weight load that was promised us in our rental agreement. It is no wonder NTEX Logistics is bleeding money but Hemfosa dodges all contact which is why settlement is the only way to go.

It was nearly two years ago when our affiliated company NTEX Logistics realised that the floor of the terminal does not hold for the weight load we were promised by our landlord, Hemfosa Real Estate, in our rental agreement.

We initiated a dialogue and after several tests found that the floor could only hold for 15 percent of the weight load of what was agreed upon. After this, the large listed company Hemfosa Real Estate vanished. They do not respond to telephone calls, emails or letters. Given the above, I decided it is appropriate to say that this company is a shame for the real estate market.

The poor floor has cost us several million SEK. It is estimated that it cost about 35 million SEK in lost revenue and will cost us numerous more millions because of the liquidation. In my world, you do not treat people this way. We at NTEX will never behave in such a way, whether it is towards our staff, customers, suppliers or anyone we encounter in business.

Now it is down to the lawyers to settle this in court. The first hearing was held recently, after which the judge noted that "the whole thing is a complicated case." Our lawyers expect that the case will be heard in court within the next year.

Remove all traffic from Gothenburg’s main boulevard

By: Thomas Ström 4/16/15

Approximately 15 years ago, the real estate company Wallenstam began sketching on a idea to change the negative view on Gothenburg’s main boulevard, Avenyn.

The company will now invest 3.5 billion SEK to refurbish the boulevard. CEO Hans Wallenstam says in an interview in the newspaper Dagens Industri that  their aim is to make Avenyn one of northern Europe’s main boulevards for culture, shopping and entertainment.

I welcome this change in every way. The one thing I like the most is that Hans Wallenstam shares my view of making Avenyn free of trams. 

I have maintained for quite some time now that the whole city should be free of trams. Undergrounds is the way to go.

It would be great if all traffic was removed from Avenyn. Instead of trams, there could be buildings in the middle of the street. Something nice-looking, full of restaurants and cafes and whatnot.

Imagine what a tourist magnet this would be for Gothenburg and Sweden! 

Swedish companies must increase the export to Asia

By: Thomas Ström 3/24/15

Freight ships from Asia come fully loaded with goods to Sweden. But most of them leave Swedish ports with very small loads. The reason is that few Swedish companies export goods to Asia. This is remarkable given that the cost of transport to eastern Asia is very low compared to the actual product. The opportunities for Swedish small and medium-sized enterprises are huge.

The ongoing globalization leads to more intertwined world economies, creating huge opportunities for Sweden. The Swedish government's aim is for Sweden to have the lowest unemployment rates in the EU in 2020. The Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Stefan Damberg, wrote a debate article for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter at the beginning of the year, where they argued that export of goods and services plays a huge role in whether or not this goal will be reached. I agree.

The challenges lie in the fact that Sweden export too little to Asia. There are far too few small and medium-sized enterprises that export. Moreover, Swedish export should, to a greater extent, consist of goods and services from upstream industries.

The government must now develop a new export strategy based on the mentioned challenges. There is a vision to develop a strategy together with entrepreneurs and business representatives. I sincerely wish this will happen and that it will be successful. The prerequisites are there. The already mentioned low cost of transport from Sweden to Asia is one of them. 

Invest in railroad – invest less in domestic sea freight

By: Thomas Ström 3/12/15

Sea freight to and from Sweden will increase in the future. However, when it comes to inland water transport, I am not as sure. I do believe it will be better to invest in a well developed and functioning railroad in combination with a upgraded and developed road network.

Sweden is situated on a peninsula and must therefore continue to use sea freight to and from the rest of the world. But it will be harder to boost inland water transport. For example, only two to three ships a day travel on the Göta River to Lake Vänern.  And the prognosis for the future indicates that the number will decrease.

The need for larger transports by railroad is larger than that of inland water transport. If we were to invest in upgrading and expanding the railroad, it would give us several advantages. Besides a quick and easy means of transport, it would create numerous job opportunities during the time of the expansion. It would also have a positive effect on the environment. When the expansion and upgrading is done, we would have an environmentally friendly transportation alternative to the roads, which also would be less burdened by heavy traffic. 

LKAB push their transportation and logistics companies to cheap solutions to survive

By: Thomas Ström 3/2/15

LKAB, a mining group owned by the Swedish government, is, at the moment, a telling example of how the Swedish industry is pushing the transport and logistic business.
This forces transport companies to come up with new solutions to survive, and the solutions are always looked for in reduced costs.

I wonder if LKAB has ever looked at the financial statements of their transport and logistic suppliers. If they had done so they would know that there are no excess profits. Most of them have to work really hard to avoid red numbers.

I assume that the reason for LKAB's actions stem from that they, in their own accounts, have seen that the costs for the transport and logistics services are high in comparison to other costs. This leads in turn to the idea that it would be possible to cut a few percent in this area.
Especially, truckers and train operators are pushed to deliver services almost for free. They are most definitely not making a profit.

It is this which in turn forces the transport and haulage industry to look for vehicles and manpower outside of Sweden. The foreign drivers and haulage companies have significantly lower costs than their Swedish counterparts. They have cheaper insurance, car purchases, fuel costs and salaries, etc. Everything is cheaper. Additionally, very few look at the environmental aspect as a competitive advantage which is why very few make environmental investments.

Transport prices in Sweden, and in the world, are far too low. If the price of transport generally increased, it would not mean very much for the goods being transported. The effect would be that we get a much healthier transport industry. This would also lead to more companies being able to invest more in development and environmental issues etc.

The building of a new Gothenburg bridge is not problematic

By: Thomas Ström 2/9/15

When it comes to investing in infrastructure, Sweden is not up to par. It is, therefore, most welcome when it finally is decided that major investments will be made on a national as well as a regional level. With that in mind, I have a hard time understanding the criticism of Gothenburg City’s decision to build a new bridge over the river Göta Älv connecting the city.

According to the plan, the bridge is to be 12 metres high, in comparison to its very timeworn brother Göta älvbron, which is 19 metres high.  And it is the height that attracts criticism. The port of Gothenburg is situated on both sides of the outlet of Göta Älv and this results in more bridge openings for larger freight ships.

The critics claim that a lower bridge will put a greater toll on both the environment and the economic life than the current bridge. I do not agree at all. Ship-owners and municipalities both believe that this will lead to more bridge openings and halted traffic, which would have a bigger impact on the environment.  In addition, they also argue that freight transported by sea will be delayed since the ships have to wait for the bridge to open.

But since there already is an even lower bridge, only 6 metres high, which is used for trains and that bridge will soon be joined by another one just as low, there is really no reason to argue over this new city bridge. The Swedish transport administration has also stated that trains will cross over these two train bridges every eight minutes. 

In addition, the local transport administration office in Gothenburg has promised that the bridge will be opened at least once an hour, except during rush hour 7.00-9.00 and 15.00-18.00, which further helps ship-owners and municipalities. Furthermore, the bridge is already opened 1.7 times every day and during the bridge opening ceremony it is estimated that 2-3 ships will arrive each day.

I also want to point out that from an environmental point of view, it is not certain that it is better with freight by sea than by road. Ships’ emission cause greater pollution than that of trucks. 

Swedish hauliers need truckers – but no one wants the job

By: Thomas Ström 2/3/15

In a survey carried out on behalf of the non-profit association TYA, the Vocational Training and Working Environment Council (Transport Trades), in the fall of 2014, it was discovered that 24 percent of the 820 companies asked are in need of hiring new staff. I think this is great news.

There is only one problem. We are in great need of truckers here in Sweden. The average age of Swedish truckers is over 50. Whether one agrees or disagrees with employing foreign truckers, it is necessary to keep the Swedish industry running.

The industry would have been in greater trouble had it not been for foreign workforce, since Swedish 20-year-olds do not want to work as truckers, which becomes apparent when looking at the taxi and public transportation services. When I was young, driving a taxi was considered cool. Today’s youth do not share this feeling.

I do not know how to attract youths to a life on the road; however I do believe it is a question politicians, trade associations, higher vocational education colleges and the industry as a whole should focus on. I would gladly be a part of such a working group.

Footnote: The survey was carried out in the period October to December of 2014 and comprised of hauliers that are members of the Swedish Road Transport Employers’ Association and employ truckers. 958 hauliers were sent the survey and 820 answered, which gives a response rate of 84 percent.

New directive regarding sulphur regulation is great for the environment but disastrous from a competitive point of view

By: Thomas Ström 1/19/15

The new sulphur directive has now come into force. This is great, seen from a environmental point of view, but it is disastrous for the competition amongst shipping companies. 
Caring for the environment is important, however, when the directive does not affect all of Europe or the rest of the world, it loses some of its appeaI. I find it even more wrong when certain scrupulous shipping companies, in all likelihood, will disregard the new directive but still charge their customers an increased price as if they have made the nessecary changes to their ships, as stated by the directive. In other words, there will not be a level playing field. 

As already mentioned in earlier posts, the reason for this is that no one will be in charge of controlling that the shipping companies abide by the new directive. No one has explained the possible punishments for not abiding by the directive to me nor who will be in charge of controlling the ships. There will, of course, be cheating until a regulatory authority has been established.

The new directive means that every ship sailing in Northern Europe now will have to reduce their emission of sulphur content in flue gas from previously legal 1.0 to 0.1. Due to this, all shipping companies sailing in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea (Scandinavia) as well as the English Channel must make large investments in their ships. 

Other ships from shipping companies based outside of the affected zone are still to follow the old directive, but change to a cleaner and more eco-friendly fuel in a different tank when entering the areas in question.

My question is as before: Who will be in charge of ensuring that everyone abide by the directive? 

About Ströms blogg


Welcome to my blog. Here I will write about transport and logistics and much more ...

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