Västerbotten Investment Agency

Infrastucture in Sweden


Sweden hosts an excellent infrastructure. It matches or outperforms that of any other European country. Extensive public investment ensures a nationwide network of roads, railroads, waterways, harbors and airports. The challenging exposure to hot summers as well as arctic winters have contributed to high quality and reliability in building and construction, transportation and communications, and also to the competitiveness of Swedish companies in the international market for infrastructure projects.

(Source: Business Sweden)


Sweden is a fairly large country with an extensive road network. The seasonal climate requires specific maintenance, especially during the winter when roads are snowplowed regularly and all major highways are de-iced to minimize accidents. All vehicles in Sweden are required to have winter tires when weather demands between December 1 and March 31. In several cities, however, the use of studded tires is now banned on certain streets to reduce road wear and environmental impact.


An extensive rail system makes it possible, and practical, to commute within Sweden. Sweden’s domestic rail system is among the most environmentally friendly in the world — run exclusively on electricity produced from water power and other renewable resources. On a per-person basis, carbon dioxide emissions produced by a trip from Stockholm to Gothenburg (478 km) is equivalent to the same emissions produced by just three milliliters of gasoline.

(Source: www.sweden.se)


Airlines have cut their prices and introduced new classes of travel to meet the competition – and have made it possible to travel to Sweden much easier from all corners of the globe and for less money than ever.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines, the national carrier, operates connecting flights to major cities in Sweden via Stockholm. Through co-operation with the Star Alliance members, SAS links many parts of the world directly to Sweden.

The domestic airlines in Sweden offer quick, comfortable and safe transport from Malmö in the south to Kiruna in the north. You have a bird’s eye view over the entire length of the country for around three hours. Because of the size of Sweden, it is almost like flying between the seasons.

(Source: www.visitsweden.se & www.swedavia.se)


Sweden is effectively an island nation – at least from the transportation point of view. Located in a northern corner of Europe, with the longest coastline in Europe and with trading partners far across the sea, Sweden depends heavily on effective maritime links. Nearly 95 per cent of its foreign trade is transported in seagoing vessels. The country has nearly 50 public seaports, ranging from small specialised ports to ferry ports to large, full service ports.

Most of Sweden’s ports are still municipally owned. In most cases the municipality also owns the port infrastructure, which it leases to the port on commercial terms. In an international context, Sweden’s ports are
unique in that most of them are organised as integrated companies as the result of a merger between the former port authority and the local stevedoring company. The aim has been to boost efficiency and reduce costs – something the ports have managed to do very effectively.

The income of Sweden’s ports – including cargo handling revenue – has increased by nearly 80 per cent over the past 10 years, whereas cargo throughput has grown by only 30 per cent in the same period. Cargo handling is concentrated in a few larger ports. A total of 118 million tonnes of cargo was handled in 2000 with the 11 largest ports handling 76 per cent of the total. Of these ports, only Luleå and Gävle are run by traditional port  authorities rather than integrated port companies.

Customers can see the advantage of integrated port companies, since it means they can negotiate with a single entity. The mergers have resulted in more flexible administration and planning, and the Swedish port has become a reliable partner in the quest for intelligent transport solutions.

Another organisational trend in the ports of Sweden is regional co-operation – on the one hand between stevedoring companies and on the other between integrated port companies. In the Stockholm region and around Lake Vänern, ports have begun to co-operate as a single organisation under a common administration. Another example is the ports of Köping and Västerås, on Lake Mälaren, which together have created Mälarhamnar AB.

As a result of various mergers and co-operations, the number of port administrations in Sweden has slowly but steadily fallen. There are now some 30 port authorities and port companies which have organised into larger units.

About 50 per cent of the cargo transported via Swedish ports consists of bulk cargo – cargo that is not unitised or packaged in some other way – with mineral oils representing the lion’s share. The other half consists of RoRo traffic in the form of trucks and trailers. In tonnage terms, containers, flats and cassettes make up just seven per cent of the total traffic.


(Map showing all industrial seaports in Sweden, click to enlarge.)

(Text and image: Ports of Sweden, www.sweports.com)

Telecom, broadband and TV

High-speed broadband is available in nearly every part of Sweden. Both fiber optic and wireless networks are expanded to provide more and more Swedes with broadband connection.

When it comes to broadband penetration for subscriptions with speeds of 100 Mbps or more downstream Sweden is well above other countries. The Swedish penetration rate for 100 Mpbs reached 0,08 subscriptions per capita in 2012. Finland, for example, had a rate of 0,03 which is less than half the Swedish rate. (Source: PTS 2012)

A lot of Swedes use a fixed phone line in their homes in addition to their cell phone and internet connection.

In Sweden each person owning a TV must pay an annual TV license fee. This system of funding ensures the continuation of a quality public service TV and radio broadcast without commercial interruption.

(Source: www.sweden.se)