European Business: Mr. Romell, can you tell us about the operation at the Port of Helsingborg?
Nicklas Romell: The Port of Helsingborg has been active for the past 200 years. Over time, it has grown significantly and today offers a wide range of cargo and passenger services. As a bridge to Denmark, around 2.5 million vehicles pass through the port every year. Many businesses have been established in the area, and it has become a logistics hub for southern Sweden. The port, with its combi-terminal, has fantastic road and rail connections, important factors which have contributed tremendously to its growth. We keep focusing on our container handling and vessel operation and work with many of the major shipping lines.
Several of the international players and the major container carriers – Unifeeder and Hapag Lloyd, for example – use Helsingborg as a link between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Short routes connect Helsingborg with major European ports such as Hamburg and Rotterdam, where cargo connects with the mainliners for global destinations. Real investment in the port and its container business began back in the 1980s, and this has reaped significant rewards, particularly over the past 15 years or so, enabling Helsingborg to increase its capacity and improve its operations. Since 2015, we have seen a growth in volume by 6.5% on the average every year. 2019 the Port of Helsingborg made a new volume record with an increase of 10.8% compared to 2018.
European Business: What advantages does Helsingborg offer customers?
Nicklas Romell: With so many local businesses in the immediate local area, we are very close to the market. Cargo loaded at Helsingborg is very soon on its way to roads and rail routes across Europe. From an operational perspective, we are very well organized, and cargo moves through the port extremely quickly. The port’s facilities are designed for flexibility in meeting customers’ specific requirements.
European Business: The environment is a very hot topic at the moment, and transportation is one of the sectors particularly in the firing line. How has the port responded to this theme?
Nicklas Romell: We have focused on operational efficiency to try to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment. Wherever possible, we use environmentally friendly vehicles and try to minimize unnecessary lifting within the port. This topic is, of course, very important to us, and we are working on new opportunities and measures so we can continue to improve our performance.
European Business: Digitalization is creating new possibilities in every industry. How has the Port of Helsingborg taken advantage of this?
Nicklas Romell: We have invested heavily in new technology with the introduction of a new key mobile crane and a new gate system. These facilities have enabled us to minimize traffic flow around the port and to reduce waiting times for loading and unloading. We have also invested in state-of-the- art warehouses and a new IT system. We firmly believe that the huge investments we are continuing to make will enable us to better meet the needs of the shipping lines and will also attract new customers to the port.
European Business: The Port of Helsingborg has created a very efficient and effective cargo port. What activities have you undertaken to raise awareness of the possibilities the port offers?
Nicklas Romell: We don’t do much direct advertising as such. We prefer to undertake direct marketing with our customers and talk to them personally. It helps us to improve our service if we can understand their worries and concerns. In addition, we have established a customer magazine, and we also attend exhibitions and trade fairs in Sweden and Germany.
European Business: And finally, how do you see the future development of the port and its business?
Nicklas Romell: I believe that the Port of Helsingborg has a very bright future. What we offer, with our wide range of rail and road connections and combi-solution, is a very smart way of transporting cargo. The region around Helsingborg itself is growing fast, with new businesses attracted to the area because of the convenient transportation solutions on its doorstep. The port offers companies convenience when shipping their products globally or importing cargo from around the world. We are well-known for our efficiency in cargo handling, and as a result, we receive at least 14 calls a week from shipping lines with new business. The Port of Helsingborg is firmly of the opinion that we have the ability and opportunity to grow and increase our market share over the coming years.