The boat factor in center of attention

Transport buyers still prioritize the truck while public transport uses buses, trains and trams. How should we get more people and transport to go on water? Well, for example with the help of the "boat factor".


When it comes to export and import, the sea is well used. 70-80 percent of all goods in and out of Sweden are transported by sea. The figures for inland transport are not as impressive. Only 3-5 percent of the transport goes by water, said Carola Alzén from Mälarhamnar when she presented "Mälaren as the new highway" at the seminar Inland and coastal shipping – What’s on in Gothenburg on Tuesday.

”70 percent of the Swedish population live within five miles of the coast. We have a long coastline and shipping is here to use. We just have to convince our customers about it”, she said.

The seminar, conducted by Lighthouse and SSPA, attracted about 100 attendees while another 30 choosed to watch the live stream through Lighthouse website.
The seminar was  divided into three themes – Regions and ports perspective, Logistics solutions and Waterways in urban areas. The presentations and discussions on all the themes had one thing in common – the question about how others could be convinced that the waterway is the thing?

Jan Snoeij from Dutch company 4Shipping that have created an open marketplace for shippers, freight forwarders and shipping companies declared that there was no easy way –  the company had worked hard towards authorities, regions, shippers and businesses to stimulate and realize a shift.

"The big challenge was to break up the personal relationships between freight forwarders and transport buyers and get everyone working together," he said during a panel discussion on logistics solutions.

Danny Van Rijkel, logistics developer in the Oost Vlanderen region, Belgium, proclaimed that ministries and authorities in Sweden must recruit more people from the industry.

- An understanding of what shipowners have to confront must be created. It's not just about being environmentally friendly, you always have to focus on the costs.

But everything is not about costs. Shipping also has other benefits, such as the "boat factor", Karl Garme from KTH said when he talked about opportunities for more public transport on water. For example, a study conducted within the Lighthouse Postdoctoral Program on travel habits on ferries, showed that the environment on board made the trip attractive. The second most common activity (after reading email) was talking to other travelers, which is not the case with other means of public transport. Many passengers also stated that they appreciated the view from the ferry.