Train delays costing exporters
Delays in train traffic are costing Swedish businesses millions of kronor every year, according to a new report that sharply criticizes the agency responsible for managing the rail network.
Major exporters including Volvo, Ikea and the paper producer Stora Enso say they are having to pay huge sums when delayed rail shipments miss connections with ships, and they blame poor track maintenance by the Swedish Transportation Authority for much of the problem.
Passenger traffic is also suffering, according to the report. One of Germany’s largest charter operators says it may have to stop carrying tourists by train if timetables can’t be kept.
The agency’s General Director, Lena Erixon, says the problem has been severe in recent months due to the winter’s unusually heavy snow across the country, and she promises to speed up procedures for clearing the tracks. But the larger problem is a general shortage of rail capacity, and Erixon notes that it will take several years and substantial investments to bring supply in line with demand.