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APM Terminals strengths its position and prepares for continued growth

2023 was a record year for APM Terminals Gothenburg – and the trend continues. The total Swedish container market, marked by economic uncertainty and geopolitical events, dropped by 3% in 2023. APM Terminals, however, further strengthened its position, seeing a growth of 5% compared to the previous year.

Forestry products, which account for just over half of the total exports via APM Terminals Gothenburg, played a key role in the significant volume increase seen in the past year.

“Flexible handling, extensive access to empty containers and close cooperation with our partner Mima Terminals are some of the reasons why APM Terminals is able to meet the forestry industry’s large export needs,” says Brian Bitsch, Commercial Manager at APM Terminals Gothenburg.

“Strong rail connections between northern Sweden and the Port of Gothenburg are also crucial to our success.”

22% decrease in import volumes – but a turnaround is in sight

In 2023, total Swedish imports decreased by no less than 22%, which corresponds to approximately 37,000 TEU per quarter, or the quarterly volume of a medium-sized Swedish port. However, import volumes are expected to recover somewhat in 2024, according to APM Terminal’s market analyst Per Wahlström.

In February 2024, APM Terminals handled 40% more imports, compared with an average month last year. “We're approaching the end of the inflation spike and the first interest rate cut is imminent. Consequently, consumption and import volumes are expected to increase, but it will take many years before we reach the levels seen during the Covid pandemic.”

Strong start to 2024

2024 will begin with record volumes for APM Terminals and the Port of Gothenburg, for several reasons. One important explanation is that increasing volumes of forestry products are being containerised within Sweden’s borders and shipped from APM Terminals in containers, instead of as bulk cargo.

“The transition from bulk to containers has been on the cards for a long time, but it only took off properly in 2023. Clear driving forces are sustainability and reliability, combined with lower transport prices for container freight,” says Per Wahlström.

The ongoing situation in the Red Sea is also a reason for unusually high volumes during the first quarter of the year, says Per Wahlström: “When supply chains are strained, ports with high capacity that are close to the main transport routes on the continent are often chosen.

“APM Terminals Gothenburg is becoming an increasingly important player in the global trading network and we're well prepared to take on that role. Understanding and adapting to new conditions will be crucial for us to continue delivering the best possible service and remain competitive in a global market,” concludes Brian Bitsch.