THE train has started to take the strain in moving salmon and other seafood from Norway into key European markets.
A new direct service opened up this weekend from the northern port of Narvik to the southern Swedish city of Malmo where the fish is loaded onto refrigerated lorries for onward distribution to processing facilities in France, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Trains have used Narvik before, but this is the first time for several years they have gone so far and to a destination close to mainland Europe. Malmo is only a short distance from Denmark.
Among the salmon farming companies reported to be using the route are Norway Royal Salmon, Cermaq and Lerøy, but the service, run by the Oslo based transport company CargoNet, is also open to exporters of pelagic and white fish.
There has been a major environmental debate in Norway over the past year about the increasingly large number of seafood trucks using the country’s road network. One train is thought to replace the equivalent of at least 24 trailers.
Erik Røhne, CEO of CargoNet said in a press release:
‘This new direct train to Malmö will streamline the transport of fresh seafood products to markets in Europe. We believe it can contribute to increased competitiveness for the seafood industry in Northern Norway, and will also result in lower emissions.
‘I would like to pay tribute to the seafood exporters who are keen to establish this new transport route, and to the carriers who are key suppliers for the industry. We are now looking forward to testing out the route and taking lessons along the way.’
He said the future success of the service depended on how heavily it was used and whether the trucks can return with other produce after they have been emptied in Malmo. The company hopes to eventually establish a regular daily service provided enough companies get on board.