Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Here Are Some Record Traffic Figures for the Month - Oh and By the Way That Ship is On Fire

Latest Port Report Contains More Than the Usual Statistics
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – The Port of Gothenburg had more to report this month than the usual columns of figures for traffic of various kinds which had passed through. For once record breaking container volumes were not the lead story.

Yes, there was the usual laid back opening to the Port’s latest press release telling how it recorded those record breaking container figures for November, a month in which it handled 74,250 TEU. In addition it saw a 7% increase in freight volumes from January to November, the highest figure since 2015. The majority of the port's container volumes are handled in the container terminal operated by APM Terminals Gothenburg with a smaller share of the box volumes passing through the RoRo terminals operated by Gothenburg RoRo Terminal and Stena Line.

The extra excitement came a little later when, on 12 December, the port was used as an emergency port for the first time in modern history. The bulk carrier Almirante Storni, loaded with timber, caught fire and spent seven days at anchor off the coast until she finally docked, and the fire could be brought under control.

As the conflagration raged, regular port operations continued as normal and Elvir Dzanic, Gothenburg Port Authority chief executive continued the low key tone with his opening comments on the matter:

“No port wants a burning vessel in its midst but once the decision had been made, we mobilised all our resources to help her to the quayside. We also knew that if any port was equipped to meet this challenge it was the Port of Gothenburg. Looking back it is with great relief and considerable pride that we can note that the whole operation was a success and most importantly the crew could disembark unharmed.

”The fact that everything went according to plan is testimony to the excellent collaboration between all involved actors. Once at quay, a lot of coordination on the maritime side was required for the day-to-day maritime traffic to remain undisturbed. On the quayside, APM Terminals were able to quickly create areas and transport routes for continued rescue work, while at the same time maintaining terminal production efficiency. It is reassuring to know that our crisis management system can cope.

“If the port were to close we would within days see widespread disruption in the supply of medicine, food, and other essentials. And industry would rapidly grind to a halt due to a lack of components. We can look back on the past year with great satisfaction and I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who work day and night at the port to ensure that even in uncertain times, industry can continue to thrive.”

The one thing that Dzanic does actually stress then is how proud he is that his port can operate despite such challenges, knowing that the welfare of Sweden as a trading nation is founded on commercial and industrial enterprises nationwide doing business globally.

He says, rightly, that a great deal of the responsibility for this rests with the Port of Gothenburg. Despite a pandemic that is wreaking havoc in many quarters, logistics chains that are being put to the test, a shortage of containers, falling vessel capacity, and the ongoing impact of Brexit, Elvir Dzanic remains optimistic about the future.

The port also has a new video out ‘Access to the World’ (and very Ingmar Bergman it is too).

Photo: The Almirante Storni burns off the Port of Gothenburg (courtesy J. Affleck)