Sweden - Transportation



As of 2002, the total length of highways was 210,760 km (130,966 mi), of which about 162,707 km (101,106 mi) were paved, including 1,428 km (887 mi) of expressways. As of 2000, there were 3,999,268 passenger cars and 388,763 commercial vehicles. In 1967, Sweden changed from left- to right-hand traffic. Sweden's railroad system of 12,821 km (7,967 mi) is operated by the state-owned Statens Järnvagar; 7,918 km (4,920 mi) of the track is electrified.

Since the 1960s, the number of ships in the merchant navy has decreased because of competition from low-cost shipping nations and, more recently, the slump in world trade. Sweden has an increasing number of special-purpose vessels, such as fruit tramps, ore carriers, and oil tankers. Most of the larger vessels, representing the majority of Sweden's commercial tonnage, are engaged in traffic that never touches home ports, and less than half of Swedish foreign trade is carried in Swedish ships. Göteborg, Stockholm, and Malmö, the three largest ports, and a number of smaller ports are well-equipped to handle large oceangoing vessels. In 2002, the Swedish merchant fleet consisted of 174 ships with a combined capacity of 2,255,344 GRT. Canals in central Sweden have opened the lakes to seagoing craft; inland waterways add up to 2,052 km (1,275 mi), navigable by small steamers and barges.

In 2001 there were 255 airports, 145 with paved runways. Arlanda international airport at Stockholm received its first jet aircraft in 1960; other principal airports are Sturup at Malmö and Landvetter at Göteborg. The Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) is operated jointly by Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, each of which owns a 50% share of the company operating in its own territory; the other half in Sweden is owned by private investors. Linjeflyg, a subsidiary of SAS, operates a domestic service to most of the larger cities and resorts. In 2001, 13,354,300 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

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