Logistikdag Norr - my 5 key takeaways

The city of Luleå hosted Logistikdag Norr on 7 November. This annual event focuses on northern Sweden’s transport infrastructure in a global perspective. WALLENIUS SOL was there to listen, learn and network – and here CEO Ragnar Johansson offers five insights.


1. Northvolt’s venture

“This is one of the most exciting things happening right now. I would almost call Northvolt’s lithium-ion battery venture the industrial project of the century in Sweden. The R&D centre Northvolt Labs in Västerås is coming on stream now in December 2019 and construction is about to start on the big factory in Skellefteå. Modern lithium-ion batteries can have a massive impact on the shift away from fossil fuels – not just in the automotive industry, but in the longer term also for shipping. And it’s strategically important that these batteries are produced within the EU. Listening to Northvolt’s CEO Peter Carlsson was hugely inspiring.”

2. Infrastructure minister impresses

“Sweden’s Minister for Infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth, approaches his job with a keen, lively attitude; he listens and makes things happen. He also understands the significance of shipping if Sweden is to achieve its climate goals. Eneroth talked a lot about the national infrastructure plan, in which shipping will play a greater role than previously – the canal locks project in Trollhättan and Södertälje, for example, is very important for domestic shipping. But there is still room for improvement. The government wants to shift goods transport from road to rail and waterway, but we ought to start by transferring freight from rail transport to shipping. That’s the simplest route – and the fastest way to have an effect.”

3. Swedish Transport Administration’s focus

“Björn Garberg, strategic planner and maritime strategist at the Swedish Transport Administration, was there and talked a lot about executing the strategies decided on. The Swedish Transport Administration has a to-do list of about 70 items, around 60 of which it owns itself. The recurring theme was that the Swedish Transport Administration knows it has a great responsibility and is not just looking for solutions from outside. That was liberating to hear.”

4. The feisty county of Norrbotten

“A large proportion of Sweden’s exports depart from the north of the country and the region therefore needs a strong infrastructure. Despite this, the county of Norrbotten gets given little and often has to fight to get the right solutions in place. This has made it good at joining forces and pulling together. Norrbotten Chamber of Commerce, which organises Logistikdag Norr, works intensively on logistics including shipping. Each year it holds a one-day Future of Shipping event.”

5. Don’t forget the environment

“We hear a great deal about climate change, and that is only right and proper, but I sometimes think the environment is being forgotten. With such a distinct focus on reducing carbon dioxide, emissions such as particulates and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen can be missed. These are intimately associated with transport and have a direct environmental impact. That’s why I find it strange and unfortunate, for example, that the government said no to connecting the Port of Gothenburg’s LNG facility to Sweden’s natural gas grid. In my world LNG is not a problem, but rather a bridge to fossil freedom.”

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