Categories: EuropePublished On: 18.01.2018317 words1.6 min read

Port of Gothenburg has seen a 19% fall in container volumes as it deals with an ongoing labour dispute.

644,000 containers (20-foot units) were handled during 2017, down dramatically on 2016’s total, which the port said is the result of a two-year clash between the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union (SDU) and the terminal operator APM Terminals Gothenburg over the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place.

Claes Sundmark, vice president, container, Ro-Ro and rail at Gothenburg Port Authority, said: “The industrial action has had a huge effect on operations on our container terminal, with a volume downturn of 19% for 2017.

“These are numbers that we have not been anywhere near in the history of the port. So it is an extremely serious problem for us, and more importantly for Swedish industry which expect to reach their global markets with a quick and reliable service.”

Lost customers

Despite the fact that no industrial action has taken place at the port since June 2017, the labour dispute has seen the port lose customers, who have been “forced” to turn to alternative transport due to the “constant threat of further industrial action,” said Mr Sundmark.

He added the lost customers would not use the port’s container terminal without a solution to the conflict.

“Unfortunately the parties has not reached an agreement as of yet,” he remarked. “We hope further negotiations can resolve the situation, but as a last resort, we welcome the Swedish governments recent initiative to look over the rules of the Swedish labour market. This might lead to a new law that prohibits industrial action where a collective agreement is in place.”

Despite low container volumes, overall volumes remained on a par with 2016, said the port. During 2017, 295,000 new cars passed through the port – a rise of 20% compared with the previous year.

Ro-Ro freight rose for the third year in succession. 593,000 ro-ro units were transported – up 10% on 2016.

Source:, 16 January 2018