Annika Lundius, Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, how do you view the issue of transport from a business perspective?
“The transport issue is incredibly important for the Swedish economy. Sweden is where it is, geographically speaking, and we are of course an exporting nation. 50% of our GDP comes from our exports and a very large proportion of those exports is made up of goods exports, so it’s incredibly important. It’s a very important issue for businesses.”
What do you think the shipping industry can do to expand and improve for Sweden’s benefit in the future?
“We have a disadvantage due to the Sulphur Directive as this only applies within the SECA area. This will naturally drive up the costs for businesses and I’m very worried about that because we will then be competing against the rest of Europe, which has lower costs than us. So it will be absolutely essential, within shipping, to successfully adapt to this change as quickly as possible so we can manage this without incurring greater costs.”
What is the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s general opinion of transport by sea?
“Well, it’s just like any other form of transport. Rail transport is also important. At the same time, we can see that we’ve been under-investing in our infrastructure for many years now. That isn’t noticeable at first, but gradually it becomes clear that under-investment is a reality. And the perception is that we might have under-invested by up to 300 billion SEK and we have to make up for that; and it goes without saying that this is a challenge. This figure covers everything from the railways, roads and then being able to manage maritime transport. What’s more, the fact is that in some cases sea transport is the only possible means of transport. We have to accept that.”
We’ve just listened to a very interesting panel discussion on innovation and how innovative forces can be boosted in Sweden. What did you think … do you have any ideas when it comes to shipping and innovation?
“Well I believe, as ever, that providing generally good conditions for innovation will lead to businesses coming up with innovations themselves.”
So you think that with a good environment and favourable conditions, those who already know the sector and work at shipping companies and within the industry as a whole will develop innovative solutions themselves?
“Yes, that’s when they will come up with the innovative solutions we need, when they have good capital conditions, good rates of corporation tax and so on.”
Thank you very much!