Climate Agreement – Challenges and Opportunities
This year’s theme for the Transport Conference was climate agreement with its challenges and opportunities, and attracted 120 participants from ports, shipping agencies, freight buyers and the transport sector in general. Michael Castanius, Industry Manager Ports of Sweden was the moderator for the day. Torbjörn Karlsson, Mayor, started and showed examples of the municipality’s environmental profile. Tommy Halén, CEO Port of Trelleborg, welcomed everyone to the port and opened the conference with a short movie with French tones on the climate agreement, in view of 1.5 degrees, which was signed in Paris.
Watch the movie here
Governor’s first official appearance
It was gratifying to us that our newly appointed Governor in Skåne, Anneli Hulthén, made her first official appearance, and the opening speech at the Transport Conference in 2016. One issue that is close to her heart is namely transport and climate issues, and she spoke of the importance of reducing our impact on the climate in the world and that we have to start now, based on the knowledge we have to get a better climate.
The first session focused on the road. Karin Svensson Smith (MP) initiated and meant that impact on the climate affects future generations and that we all need to feel our responsibility because we need to switch to more energy efficient transport modes, changing the fuel, possibly legislation for fuel, have environmental zones in cities and to find other habits so that we do not transport so much. “The fastest is not always the best.” She also raised the question “Just in time”, which to some extent was contradicted by participants in the audience. The panel discussion then followed up and gave their views of the matter.
Stephan Müchler, CEO of Chamber of Commerce & Industry Southern Sweden, considered that the railroad is not working and that the distribution of infrastructure money were unfair between Skåne and Stockholm, and the need for more funds to Skåne.
Mikael Nilsson, Chairman of the board, Swedish Assoc. Trspt Companies, argued that one must meet future increase in freight volumes and remain competitive but that it needed to get to a change of attitude among the people.
Patrik Klintbom, Director Environment & Energy at Volvo, is working to have the environment in focus and promised that Volvo would bring out the best gas powered truck. He said, however, that there must be financial gain for the user to change their environmental behavior.
“The Boost of the Year”
MOVEBYBIKE, Sweden’s greenest haulage company, received the award “The Boost of the Year” which was awarded by the Governor Anneli Hulthén. Godstranportrådet annually appoints a company in its region that wins the prize for the year lifting the company worked to highlight and disseminate knowledge of intelligent and sustainable transport. It has become a tradition that the prize is awarded at the Transport Conference. More information about MOVEBYBIKE here http://www.movebybike.se/
Rail and Intermodal Transport
Then it was time for the second session which focused on rail and intermodal transport. Green Cargo’s CEO Jan Kilström concluded that it is much cheaper by truck than rail and the competitive situation has changed when the track fees have been increased, oil prices have dropped and access to cheaper foreign labor. This does not rhyme with the climate agreement and the conditions for rail transport must change. He drew parallels with the international rail in other countries where the countries by rail strategy succeeded in getting more freight to rail and calls for such a strategy for Sweden.
Karin Svensson Smith definitely want to see more shift to rail and she stressed that rail maintenance should be collected and organized so that it becomes better and cheaper. The panel discussed solutions to what we can do to use rail transport more and create opportunities for both freight and commuter. Policy instruments, compensation and fee for the heavy traffic for wear and tear of the road net were some suggestions from the panel of debaters. “We have only one earth. How hard can it be?” Karin Svensson Smith concluded the panel.
The infrastructure – adaptation to the alleged needs
The last part of the conference focused on infrastructure – adaptation to needs pointed out, where Anna Wildt Persson from the Swedish Transport Administration started and talked about how they see the priorities and objectives of the future budget.
Tommy Halén, CEO Port of Trelleborg, raised various issues such as the Core ports, what does it mean to be a Core port and how do you use Core ports? Why is there no national cross border strategy for freight transports and rail transports? They talk just about one way out of Sweden, namely the Øresund Bridge even though 90% of Sweden’s exports and imports pass the ports. Competitive neutrality and increased fairway and pilotage dues are important issues that Tommy Halén raised, and the response from Karin Svensson Smith was that there will be a proposal, among other fee for the heavy traffic for wear and tear of the road net which will contribute to a fairer distribution of the charges.
Stephan Müchler said that we need to look more at coordination between countries and their member companies may be willing to pay more for transport if the money fully goes back to improve the infrastructure.
Tommy Halén also highlighted the importance of the statistics need to look at units and not just the tonnage, there are units that go on the ferries / roads / railways and will take place and that requires investments in infrastructure. Finally, he raised the issue of energy and the problems that exist with regard to the cost of the hedge between the port’s power grid and to “Sweden” for the port to be able to offer their customers onshore power supply.
During the following dinner, the evening continued with many interesting discussions and suggestions for improvements in sustainability, environmental efficiency and climate agreement.
The question that lingers in the air, will we meet the target?
See more pictures from the Transport Conference below.
Photographer: Joachim Wall