This content was published in the period between 3 October 2014 and 20 January 2019

Efficient, high-capacity and sustainable freight transport – a national freight transport strategy


A strategy that can address the needs of tomorrow’s modern freight transport systems.

Foto: Pampus flygfoto, Norrköping

The Government has presented a national freight transport strategy for efficient, high-capacity and sustainable freight transport – the first of its kind. The strategy focuses on the modern freight transport systems of tomorrow, where freight transports are efficient and smart, and utilise the full potential of railways and a larger share of shipping capacity. With the national freight transport strategy, the Government wants to clarify and enable consensus around the directions on how the freight transport system should be developed.

The national freight transport strategy focuses on creating the conditions for efficient, high-capacity and sustainable freight transports and has been developed in dialogue with relevant actors. It gives an overview of the current situation and clarifies the overall focus in the freight and logistics area. This focus and associated measures will help achieve the transport policy objectives, strengthen the competitiveness of business and promote the shift of freight transports from road to rail and shipping.

Freight are transported using all modes of transport – by rail, road, shipping (including inland shipping) and aviation – throughout Sweden and to other countries. Freight transports have major importance for the smooth running of Sweden, even when under strain. This means that freight transport issues have major importance for several political objectives, including transport policy objectives, industrial policy objectives, the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategy is a platform for continued collaboration in the freight transport area. The success of the  strategy’s implementation is dependent on all stakeholders continuing to take responsibility, and on dialogue, knowledge sharing and collaboration being able to continue.

Freight transport strategy focuses on the freight transports of tomorrow

The transport system is in the middle of a paradigm shift. Innovative researchers and companies are developing and transforming transports at a rapid pace. The freight transports of tomorrow will be fossil-free and automated, and freight logistics will primarily be managed digitally. To address the challenges faced by the freight transports of tomorrow, the Government considers it necessary to develop all modes of transport in a coherent transport system. By prioritising investment in important transport infrastructure, developing regulations and policy instruments, as well as investing in knowledge, the conditions for efficient, high-capacity and sustainable freight transports can be greatly improved. The measures presented in the strategy and the ongoing work will focus on achieving competitive and sustainable freight transport and the transition to fossil-free transports, as well as innovation, skills and knowledge.

Focus of continued work

National freight transport council

A national freight transport council is to be set up to contribute to the work for efficient, high-capacity and sustainable freight transports and the implementation of the freight transport strategy. The establishment of the council will create continuity in the work to develop freight transports and enable the continuous exchange of experiences and views between the Government and representatives of industry, stakeholder organisations, research and higher education institutions, central government agencies, municipalities, county councils and others.

Competitive and sustainable freight transports

Well-functioning freight transports are a prerequisite for a thriving Sweden and for Swedish companies to be able to export their products. Fair competition, order, stability and decent conditions are all important. The entire global economy must change to address the challenge of climate change. Being competitive in the coming decades means being competitive in that transition. With competitive and sustainable freight transports, the industrial sector, which is a major buyer of transport, is given the opportunity to grow. This, in turn, helps to create the conditions for more jobs and a stronger economy throughout the country.

Transition to fossil-free freight transports

Climate change is one of the Government’s top priorities. The Government has adopted a climate strategy, in which reduced emissions from transports are an important part. In relation to freight transports, efforts are focused on increasing transport efficiency, including through coordination and community planning, but also on implementing the transition to renewable fuels and developing more energy-efficient vehicles. Innovations that form part of the solution to the climate change issue will also be implemented in the transport system – and thus also be showcased in the ‘permanent world exhibition’ that the Swedish transport system should be.

Innovation, skills and knowledge

Strengthening Sweden’s competitiveness requires the ability to create and produce innovative solutions and technologies, and develop existing and new companies. Sweden is to be a permanent world exhibition for innovation in the transport area. Therefore, continued investment in research and innovation must be made in areas of Swedish strength. It must be possible for innovations, after testing and evaluation, to rapidly move from pilot project to reality and become part of the permanent world exhibition and of the freight transport system.

Follow-up and evaluation

The freight transport strategy needs to be followed up and evaluated to be successively developed. The Government has therefore instructed Transport Analysis to continuously follow up the strategy and evaluate the work.


This is a translation of the Swedish article published in June 2018.


Two of the Government’s overall objectives are for Sweden to reduce emissions at the rate needed for global sustainable development and to increase the number of people in employment so that Sweden reaches the lowest unemployment rate in the EU by 2020. Achieving these objectives requires good conditions for jobs and growing companies, which assumes an efficient and high-capacity freight transport system. The Government’s ambition is for Sweden to become the world’s first fossil-free welfare nation. The transition of the transport sector to break fossil-fuel dependence, reduce emissions and minimise negative environmental impact is both possible and necessary.