The Corona virus Covid-19 broke out in mid-March 2020 and the world was turned upside down. When a large part of Europe closed down border crossings on land, it was of great importance that our imports as exports of goods that go by sea to and from Swedish ports could continue to function. The Port of Trelleborg has remained stable during the ongoing pandemic and the trend for Scandinavia’s largest RoRo port is increased freight volumes. The port continues with its investments and port expansion according to plan, all in order to meet increased capacity, improved intermodality and the opportunity for the next generation of RoRo vessels to be able to call at the port.
“We are very grateful that our ferry traffic with 30 arrivals and departures daily, around the clock, to Germany, Poland and Lithuania has been intact and that we have managed to stand strong during this time which has been, and still is, difficult for many”, says Jörgen Nilsson, CEO of Port of Trelleborg.
Communication, clarity and transparency
When the Corona outbreak struck and notice and downsizing quickly became a fact throughout Europe, there was a great need for information on how the Port of Trelleborg, as the hub between Scandinavia and Europe, was affected by Covid-19. Therefore, short film clips were made with the port’s CEO Jörgen Nilsson about the situation in the port, which were posted on social media at regular intervals and which received a huge response. The port’s freight volumes worked very well in March, and Jörgen Nilsson called for calm because there was a bunkering hysteria going on in the community at the time.
The volumes during the Corona pandemic
The slowdown came quickly after that and Port of Trelleborg experienced a decline in the freight volumes. In April, the port lost 17 percent in terms of freight and in May 12 percent. June showed a recovery and it was about the same flows as 2019. In July and August it turned around and the figures showed 4.5 percent up compared to 2019. The trend going forward is still positive and we believe that we will reach the same freight volume in 2020 as in 2019.
In terms of the passenger and car traffic, it has fallen dramatically since April, but is now starting to increase gradually. Overall, the volumes in January-August have been minus 40 percent compared with the corresponding period in 2019.
Port of Trelleborg is working on various measures to transfer traffic from road to rail. Intermodal traffic, which combines rail, sea and road, is by far the most sustainable mode of transport available, and it is gratifying that the intermodal rail traffic has increased by as much as 60 percent so far this year compared to 2019.
Port of Trelleborg’s Logistics Centre has also had fantastically good volumes so far this year with an increase of 16 percent. Several new customers have chosen Port of Trelleborg due to the unique logistical location and also the frequent number of arrivals and departures per day, which allows shorter lead times and the opportunity to store goods closer to the end customer.
Employment effects locally, regionally and nationally
“Port of Trelleborg handles a significant share of the Swedish foreign export and import volumes. The fact that the logistics flows work in Port of Trelleborg means important employment effects for thousands of people who are directly employed by work in the Port of Trelleborg and all indirect jobs that are connected to the port in the City of Trelleborg and Skåne. The freight flows through Port of Trelleborg also generate a very large number of jobs throughout Sweden. The port’s employees, together with our shipping line customers, have shown a fantastic pride and willingness to keep the port and Sweden going during the ongoing Corona pandemic,” says Jörgen Nilsson.