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Published 30 Apr, 2018

Impact of the Fixed Fehmarn Belt Link on the Transport of Forest Products

Almost half of the 60 million tons of forest products produced each year in Sweden and Finland are exported to the EU-28 countries. Of this, a little more than 20 million tonnes is carried to the hinterland of the German Baltic Sea ports or the on the Fixed Fehmarn Belt Link (FFBL) as defined in this study. This quantity is shared between the transport modes shipping, rail and road. The Rostock Port, project partner of TENTacle, conducted a report on the current situation and possible future effects of the FFBL on the modal split of products from the forest industry as well as consequences and recommendations for the maritime transport industry.

The FFBL reduces the distance for rail and direct road transport by 160 km. It is therefore to be expected that maritime transport will lose cargo to rail and road. This will primarily affect exports from Southern and Central Sweden. In conjunction with foreseeable structural changes in the production of forest products (wider range of varieties offered combined with smaller batch sizes for paper, more high-quality pulp) and the expansion of modern rail infrastructure, higher market shares for rail transport are expected, especially for combined transport. According to the analysis, railways will increase their share in the export of Swedish forest products from the current level of around 25% to roughly 30% after opening the FFBL. The shift is expected to take place almost exclusively through the switch to combined transport at the expense of direct road transport, thus in part at the expense of ferry connections.

Ferry and port operators in the Baltic Sea have little chance of securing their current transport shares, since the construction of the FFBL is highly subsidized and constitutes a political rather than an economic decision. However, especially for the cargo segment of forest products exports from Southern Sweden to Central Europe some opportunities to preserve their positions could be realized.

Download the full TENTacle report here: Impact of the Fixed Fehmarn Belt Link on the Transport of Forest Products from Northern to Central Europe

Contact for further information:
Mario Lembke
Rostock Port