New overview of Freight Transport Development from Roskilde University
Senior Researcher Povl Adler Hansen from Roskilde University is the author of a new report for Green STRING Corridor. Fresh from the printer’s the report is titled “The Green STRING Corridor and Transport Development” and looks into the development of the transport structure in the STRING region (i.e. Scania, Zealand, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg).
Picture: Hamburg Hafen, © HHM / H.-J. Hettchen

Picture: Hamburg Hafen © HHM / H.-J. Hettchen

After his work of analyzing overwhelming amounts of data, we asked Povl Adler Hansen what, in his mind, he had found the most surprising in his findings:


"There are two things that took me by surprise. Firstly, I took note of how important a role the German Baltic ports play in the current transport system. Everybody will recognize Hamburg as a major hub or port for global trade and freight transport, but before analyzing the data I hadn't realized the vital roles that Luebeck, Kiel and also Rostock and Sassnitz play connecting North-South transport from Scandinavia to Germany and East-West transport from Finland, the Baltic States and Russia to Germany and the rest of continental Europe."


The report emphasizes how the new Fehmarn link will enable freight trains to cross Zealand en route from Scandinavia to Germany. Today, that is not possible via the Rodby-Puttgarden connection. Moreover, 631,700 trucks are yearly transported between Scania and Germany via ferries from Sweden. "What will happen with the more than 600.000 trucks sailing from Scania to Germany?, Povl Adler asks. I have no doubt that much of that transport will change its route after the Fehmarn tunnel is opened. But the Swedish shipping companies are not waiting idly. They are already getting ready to take up the competition with new investments and new ferries".  


Read more in the Factsheet "The German Baltic ports face new challenges".


Povl Adler Hansen's second surprise was the decline in road freight over Zealand. Especially he finds the decrease in volume of goods significant.


 "As I'm sure most people are aware, a great part of the production industry in Northern Europe has moved manufacturing to other parts of the world, mainly Eastern Europe and the Far East. My research shows that this tendency is particularly significant for the Zealand area - including Copenhagen and the greater Copenhagen area. Road freight has decreased in the past 11 years - especially in volume of goods but also in driven kilometers. The diminishing volume of goods is due to the changing nature of consumer goods: Products are lighter and smaller - and more expensive, as for instance electronic devises. In Scania the wood and steel industries result in a slight increase. But for me it is clear that the decline in freight transport in Zealand is a tendency that starts before the present economic crisis."


 "This is interesting because it is a very different picture than the one everybody has been painting the last many years. We kept telling ourselves: The amount of transportation in Europe, especially freight, will just increase and increase until at least 2030. My research shows that this is not the case -  not in the EU in general, but particularly not in the most developed parts of the EU. Both globalised production and the international division of labor, and also the dematerialization of goods, are the reasons for this development."


"The decrease in freight volume does not mean that the transport structures are less important, but there are other factors as faster and safer transport and stronger relations between user and transport firms that come into focus."


Read more in the Factsheet "Zealand transport structure and its challenges".



The report from Roskilde University has many other interesting findings and figures - some of the most important are available below:


Factsheet: Changes in Scania's transport structure


Factsheet: Fundamental changes in the development of transport (in the STRING region)


Factsheet: The STRING region transport structure


Report:  "The Green STRING Corridor and Transport Development"


By Anine Asklund