Where the Nordics meet Central Europe

Where the Nordics meet Central Europe

The FINANCIAL -- Each year, up to 1 billion tons of cargo and 50 million passengers travel through the Baltic Sea, making it one of the world’s busiest maritime regions. The Port of Ystad on Sweden’s Baltic coast is now expanding its infrastructure to strengthen one of Europe’s most important transport connections.

The Port of Ystad in Southern Sweden plays an important role in the county’s trade, infrastructure and tourism, as it connects the Nordics to the growing markets of Central and Eastern Europe through Świnoujście in Poland.

In 2017, the port saw a new record turnover of 3.6 million tons of goods, including some bulk as timber, coke, pellets and grain. The municipality of Ystad is relatively small with around 30,000 inhabitants, but its location and port have turned it into a transport hub.

While trade and passenger volumes are increasing, reports by Interreg Europe state that the number of ships navigating through the Baltic Sea has decreased. This highlights a trend towards larger vessels.

Expanding European connections

Co-financed by a loan from NIB, the Port of Ystad is now expanding its infrastructure southwards to cater to larger ships. Two new berths will be constructed, and the break-water on the south side will be enlarged. After the expansion is completed in 2021, the inner port area will continue to be used for ferry traffic and conventional vessels.

The future of maritime transport and travel

It is estimated that commercial shipping and passenger ferries account for approximately 3-4% of carbon emissions caused by man. The pollution is mainly the result of exhaust pollutants generated by ships using heavy-fuel oil or marine diesel oil.

Despite its great potential, shipping hasn’t been prioritized in any of the international agreements coordinated through the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, in a bid to become greener, the Port of Ystad has built a High Voltage Shore Connection plant to supply power to ships at berth.

New vessels are designed to carry more without a proportional increase in fuel use. This way, freight and passenger transport are becoming more efficient, and in the short term, efficiency gains are going to be the greatest contribution to greenhouse gas reduction.