01 February 2018

Further pressure on the road

Despite good railway infrastructure is in place, investigation of freight flows show an  increase in road freight traffic in the Northern Scandria®Corridor


Roadway from ports


Contact / Further information:

Sorin Sima
International coordinator
Swedish Transport Administration Southern Region

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Direct: +46 10 123 33 77
Mobile: +46 705 49 50 84

Mario Lembke
Strategic Development / General issues
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Direct: +49 381 350 5052

From 2016 to 2017, the Swedish Transport Administration did a major effort to investigate the freight traffic passing through 10 ports located along the South and West Coast by interviewing 2,300 truck drivers as well as Swedish and Danish freight companies who frequently use the Öresund Bridge.The studied ports handled in total 2.3 million trailers and trucks in 2016 corresponding to about 80 percent of all Swedish ports in this segment. Observations were done in August-October 2016 and April-June 2017.

A similar investigation has been performed by the Port of Rostock, the second largest ro-ro port in Germany and located at the Baltic Sea. In June 2017 the northbound traffic with accompanied trucks (that means no unaccompanied units like transport flows done with intermodal trailers) has been analyzed. Nearly 3,000 interviews with truck drivers were done during their waiting times for the ferries' departure.

The aim of the investigations was to update information from previous investigations of this kind as performed in 2006 (Rostock + Sweden) or later (Rostock) about source and destination of freight flows on trucks through ports in the south and west of Sweden and Rostock, the type of freight, fill rate, origin of vehicle and driver, etc.

In Sweden, a similar study was done in 2006, providing the opportunity to derive development trends from the data assessed.
The results show that the number of vehicles through the ports and on the Öresund Bridge has increased by almost 23 percent compared to 2006 and that a large part is transit traffic. The major increase has occurred on the Oresund Bridge and in the ports east of the bridge (Trelleborg, Ystad, Karlshamn and Karlskrona). The other ports have about the same amount of traffic as before.

The findings also clearly show that the ports do not primarily serve the local businesses. The freight is transported up to 500 km from the port it arrives through. Exceptions are the ports in Helsingborg, Gothenburg and Malmö. Rest and driving time regulations are affecting the length of the journey. About 80% of shipments are within "day distances" from the port.

It can be observed, that more drivers from Romania and Bulgaria are sitting behind the wheel than in 2006, when most drivers came from Germany. Swedish drivers make up 10% of total, the same share as was reached in 2006.

Although the share of trailers with a high fill rate increased from 50 to 57 percent, the share of empty trailers rose from 8 to 12 percent at the same time.
Findings also show, that generally the railway connection for the transports are ineffective, despite the fact that the infrastructure is on place. Positive examples are Trelleborg and Gothenburg.

The analyse of northbound traffic done in Rostock shows, that majority of transport flows has its origin along the Scandria®Corridor. More than 50% of the transports have one or more destinations in Sweden, the second largest country of destination is Denmark, followed by Norway. This is most of all the same structure as in previous analyses, even if the total volume of trucks transported by ferries rose remarkable in this period.

The destinations in Sweden stretch along the entire country, from Skåne in the South up to Norrbotten in far North. However, the majority have the point of unloading within a one day driving distance after the ferry trip. The reason for that might be, that the important industrial and logistics nodes are located in the South and the Middle of Sweden. With regard to Norway, the dominating region of unloading is Greater Oslo.

When it comes to the nationality of the driver, it needs to be stated, that the driver is mostly from the same country as where the truck was loaded. In general, the dominating transport unit is a semitrailer, but only a minority share can be loaded on a train (no intermodal affine equipment). This is one reason, why the intermodal traffic along the Scandria®Corridor is still underperforming compared to the total freight volumes transported on the corridor.

The results confirm findings of other studies; i.e. performed by the City of Oslo and Akershus County in 2013 indicating that there is huge potential for shifting goods from road to rail with regards to volumes and stating the fact that rail transport failed to use this potential so far. There is also huge potential for the use of alternative fuels in long-haul freight transport.

Major questions that arise from these findings are: What are the drivers for the development? Why is road transport the first choice? And are there sufficient incentives to foster modal shift? How ports, municipalities, regions and transport authorities can cope with rising freight traffic?

The main findings, that will be published soon in English at the Scandria®2Act website, provide an excellent basis for further discussion which will be facilitated by Scandria®2Act; i.e. jointly with the project TENTacle during the Fehmarnbeltdays 29 May 2018 in Malmö.





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