Sölvesborgs Stuveri & Hamn (SBG Port) is the organisation for a harbour and dock located by the Baltic Sea on the eastern coast of Sweden. The company was founded in 1908, but activity as a maritime port can be traced back to the seventeenth century following the decline of Hanseatic power. However, the modern status as a commercial port began far into the nineteenth century as a natural development following a strong export industry.
The very first shipyard was established in SBG Port in 1801, and the first dedicated harbor master was employed in 1839. By 1851, the small town of Sölvesborg could witness the arrival of some 185 ships yearly, an impressive figure at the time. During the period following directly after WWII high activity was maintained at the shipyard, but the shipping crisis of the late 1970s led to devastation of Swedish maritime, resulting in closing of the Sölvesborg shipyard in the early 1980s.
Bold investments pay off well
Today, SBG Port is a fully privatised port owned primarily by Sölversborg Shipping, the municipality of Sölvesborg, Lantmännen, Volvo and Stora Enso Nymölla. The port runs a cargo-led operation focusing on the handling of dry bulk, forestry products and steel coils.
Traditionally being a stevedoring port, SBG Port is well equipped to handle the loading and unloading of stone, wood chips, pulp, coils and other materials with its range of assets including tug boat, several cranes and forklifts with maximum lifting capacity of 40 respectively 45 tonnes, as well as numerous wheel loaders. Recent investments have increased capacity tremendously; Managing Director Jan-Erik Olsson gives us a summary of the latest developments:
“Over the last two years our investments include specially designed trucks for the transportation of coils by road to clients all over Sweden (0.5 million euros), as well as wheel loaders, a terminal tractor, roll-trailers and forklifts (exceeding 1.5 million euros). We have also invested 1.5 million euros in a Sennebogen 870 hydraulic crane with additional handling equipment, and in order to increase coil storage space we have expanded Warehouse M18 – complete with a gantry crane and coil blocks for handling and storing of coils up to 30 tonnes each at a total cost of 2.8 million euros”.
The expanded warehouse was completed in May 2012, and within two months it was practically full. Jan-Erik Olsson underlines that the net benefit of the total 6.3 million euro upgrade is that it has enabled SBG Port to enter new business segments and boost annual turnover at large.
One-stop-shop in logistics
Cargo is transported from the port either by road or rail. The railway capacity is also undergoing an upgrade. “Contracts have been signed regarding the leasing of six additional carts starting from August 2012. Hence, we have 19 railway carts available for the distribution of steel coils over long distances”.
SBG Port has divided the business into several additional areas within logistics. “We are more than a port operator; we also offer freight forwarding and ship agency services through our subsidiary and shareholder Sölvesborg Shipping. We offer a one-stop-shop within logistics for many of our clients, and these activities make us stand out on the eastern coast of Sweden”, Jan-Erik Olsson continues.
The future: multi-modal transport systems
The company has seen significant increases in turnover between 2010 and 2011. The number of vessels calling at the port increased from 350 to over 500, gross sales rose from 80 million to 110 million SEK. Operating profits now exceed 16.1 million SEK. “All our business areas have expanded, not to mention the export of construction materials to central Europe”.
Jan-Erik Olsson is confident about the positive future for SBG Port. He concludes: “I am confident that with the investments we have made over the last two years, we are well prepared for a downturn in the economy. We will continue the expansion of our forwarding business, and that will subsequently feed the port with increased cargo volumes. I believe that it is essential to continue working on all our business areas and develop multi-modal transport systems”.