Sweden and Germany are two highly developed industrialised countries with long-standing economic relations based on strong foreign trade. Germany is one of Sweden’s most important trading partners and this relationship is also reflected in the large number of connections between the German and Swedish North Sea and Baltic Sea ports. The Port of Lübeck, for example, handled almost nine million tonnes of cargo with Sweden last year. In Hamburg, 292,000 TEUs crossed the quays.
At the event “Intermodal transport connections – an answer to climate change” in Trelleborg, which was organized by Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft mbH (LHG), the Port of Trelleborg, and Port of Hamburg Marketing reg. Assoc. (HHM), experts discussed ways to make the connections even more environmentally friendly.
Marina Basso Michael, Regional Director Europe at HHM, and Håkan Nilsson, Director Industry at the Swedish Freight Forwarders’ Association, chaired the event and began by emphasising the need for joint action by all parties involved in the transport chain. “Against the background of high CO2 emissions, it is important to drive the systemic change towards climate neutrality,” stressed Basso Michael in her welcome speech. The panel discussion was then moderated by Håkan Nilsson, Director Industry at the Swedish Freight Forwarders’ Association.
Many parties involved in transport between Sweden and Germany are already on the right track. Jörgen Nilsson, Managing Director of the Port of Trelleborg, presented the ambitious plans of Sweden’s second largest port to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, emphasising the need to develop hinterland connections. In Germany, the Port of Lübeck is in the process of making its operations more environmentally friendly. “As the most important hub for traffic to and from Sweden, LHG continues to advocate the development of the most sustainable and shortest connection using intermodal transport and ferries. To this end, we are expanding our intermodal terminal and at the same time adapting to the new, larger and more environmentally friendly ship systems,” said Ortwin Harms, Managing Director of Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft mbH.
Another milestone on the way to more environmentally friendly transport is the ferry service in the Baltic Sea with TT-Line’s LNG-powered ferries, which Christian Carl, Head of Intermodal at TT-Line GmbH & Co. KG, presented. For Jörg Ulrich, Managing Director of European Cargo Logistics GmbH, there is also a need for horizontal cooperation between market players. In addition, there must be a fair distribution of the financial risks involved in the introduction of new environmentally friendly hinterland transport solutions.
The EU project Blue Supply Chains (https://interreg-baltic.eu/project/bluesupplychains/) aims to find out what other solutions might be available. “We started in January this year with 20 partners to identify further methods to reduce emissions in ports,” explained Inga Gurries, Head of Market Development Asia and Project Manager at HHM.
Perhaps one of the results will be to harmonise penalties for polluters across the European Union. At least that is what Uwe Sondermann, Managing Director of Kombiconsult GmbH, called for, linking this to the hope of being able to implement more environmentally friendly measures in the industry more quickly, even if this involves a higher financial outlay.