Archive for the ‘Transport Logistics’ Category

The International Freight Sector Supporting Sweden’s Free Trade}

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Submitted by: Stephen Willis

Sweden is a staunch advocate of free trade and this is enshrined in Sweden’s liberal trade policies. The whole concept of free international trade is at the heart of Sweden’s economic policies and its roots were established as much as a thousand years ago. Sweden is not blessed with a terrain or climate that is good for agriculture and this led to Sweden starting to import from Russia and South East Europe as long ago as the 11th century. It is strange to think that even at that time and long before the phrase was invented, Sweden was engaged in freight forwarding!

The long tradition of international trade has continued to evolve since that time and a thriving international freight sector has sprung up to service the needs of both importers and exporters.

Both the imports and exports from Sweden are now at a high level. Sweden has a very strong export sector and has made large surpluses on its trade for the last decade. The largest single export category is machinery and equipment, making up a third of all exports from Sweden. This has evolved directly from the important iron ore industry that began to be formed in Sweden as early as the seventeenth century. After machinery and equipment, the next most important exports are motor vehicles, paper products,chemicals,iron and steel products and pulp and wood. The vast majority of these exports are bulky items and some, such as chemicals, require freight forwarders to pay especially close attention to their safe freight transport. So the shipping companies that service Sweden’s exporters are highly experienced and have developed systems to ensure that every load is transported safely and securely.

Nearly 60% of all Swedish exports go to other countries in Europe. Of these, Germany is the most important, accounting for a share of 11%, followed by the United Kingdom, Norway and the United States of America, which account for 9% each. Stockholm Airport is an important freight forwarding hub for the transport of goods overseas and especially to the United States, although shipping by sea is also used extensively.

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Of slightly less importance as trade partners are the neighbouring countries of Denmark and Finland, accounting for 6% and 5% of Swedish exports respectively. Trade with Denmark is now made easier since the creation of the Oresunde Bridge, which spans the kilometres of water separating the two countries. Freight forwarders have been able to trim journey times and costs since the bridge was opened.

Although much of Sweden’s exports are raw materials and resources such as pulp, wood and iron ore, Sweden also exports branded products. Some Swedish export brands are incredibly well known right across the globe. Indeed, there surely cannot be many people who have not heard of household names such as Ericsson, Volvo, Saab, Electrolux or IKEA.

European countries also account for the majority of the imports into Sweden. The main imports are chemicals, clothing, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, iron and steel, machinery, petroleum and petroleum products.

Indeed, nearly 70% of all imports to Sweden come from within the European Union, with the most significant amount coming from Germany, United Kingdom, France and Norway. The United Kingdom is single-handedly responsible for 10% of all of Sweden’s imports.

This steady stream of international trade between Sweden and the United Kingdom has spawned the development of an effective infrastructure for international freight between the two countries, with a number of freight forwarders having established expertise and robust systems, so that the whole process of the freight transport of goods can be relied upon to be speedy and trouble free.

In recent years, freight forwarders have started making increasing use of IT and technology to make the systems still more streamlined and customer-focussed and freight forwarding between the UK and Sweden is at the forefront of this trend.

Sweden has a long and illustrious history of international trade and the freight services sector is now embracing modern technology to ensure that it has a bright future too. The economy in Sweden is robust and has been less rocked than most other countries by the current period ofeconomic turbulence. The freight company or shipping company involved in Swedish international freight can face the future with confidence, despite the downturn, knowing that for Sweden, imports and exports are its lifeblood.

About the Author: Stephen Willis is Managing Director of

RW Freight Services

a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating worldwide freight forwarding services including specialist freight services to and from



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