Avatar Logistics, jointly owned by Erik Thun AB, Ahlmark Lines AB and VT Group Ltd, is behind the trial service, which will take just 10 hours from the APM Terminals-operated Skandia container terminal to Vänersborg, using the 50m long by 12m wde barge KANALLA.
The Port of Gothenburg, which is involved in the project, explains that EU rules relating to inland waterways were introduced in Sweden in 2014. The Göta Älv is one of the waterways affected. Under these rules, it is possible to operate simpler types of vessels with lower manning requirements and in doing so reduce transport costs.
Port CEO Magus Kårestedt said that apart from supporting this specific project, inland shipping is also granted a special discount on port charges.
On Sweden's east coast, meanwhile, Hutchison Ports has signed an agreement with Ports of Stockholm AB (SHAB) to operate the new Port of Norvik (Norvikudden) at Nynäshamn, 60 kms south of the Swedish capital, and currently under construction.
The container terminal at Norvik will replace Container Terminal Frihamnen in central Stockholm, which Hutchison has operated since 2009. The latest SHAB/Hutchison agreement was foreseen as part of the original Frihamnen deal, although the Norvik scheme has been subject to a number of delays, due to the post 2009 economic slowdown, legal disputes and permitting problems.
According to SHAB's Managing Director Johan Castwall, phase 1 is now expected to open in 2020, some eight years later than originially planned.