The role of transport-buying companies for increased shipping

The role of transport-buying companies for increased shipping – new Swedish report

Increasing the share of goods transported by sea has received increasing political interest in Sweden in order to achieve sustainable transports. The benefits of moving goods from land to sea transport are for example less congestion, reduced environmental impact, lower cost for companies sending and receiving goods and improved road safety. Despite this, the share of sea transport is not increasing in Sweden.

An actor that has an important role for the development of freight transport is the company purchasing transport for their goods. Transport purchasers can have a large impact on how transports are carried out, which transport mode is selected and the requirements (e.g. time and environmental requirements) set on the transport operations. 

Drivers and barriers for increasing sea transport from a transport-buying perspective

SSPA, IVL and Maritimt Forum conducted a research project focused on understanding the opportunities and barriers for transport-buying companies in Sweden to increase their sea transport. The project was financed by the Swedish Transport Administration. The project report concluding the research project is now available. 

This research project identified drivers and barriers for increasing sea transport from a transport-buying perspective, and found three main areas:
1) Prioritization – where modal shift to sea is not a priority
2) Knowledge level – where knowledge about sea transport solutions is low
3) Collaboration – where collaboration with shipping companies and forwarders is important to realise modal shift

The research project also identified actions for each of these areas. Examples include:

  • Transport purchasers should set aside time to consider and evaluate sea transport solutions 
  • The management of companies should clarify goals and policies regarding freight transport, sustainable transport and modes of transport
  • Transport purchasers can increase their knowledge regarding sea transport solutions and when it would be suitable 
  • The dialogue between transport purchasers and providers needs to be improved, for example discussing more alternatives.

Also, authorities should create good conditions for transport-buying companies to increase their amount of sea transport. Well-functioning infrastructure to and from ports is essential. Shipping needs to be competitive compared to other transport modes from cost and sustainable perspectives, offer attractive availability, frequency and reliability. 

The project report Transportköparens roll för ökad och hållbar sjöfart is available in Swedish. For information about the results in English please contact Sara Rogerson. 
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