Port of Helsingborg
Review and History

The Port of Helsingborg lies on the southwestern end of Sweden across the Oresund (The Sound) that separates Denmark and Sweden. Just 22 nautical miles from Kobenhavn (Copenhagen), it is the easiest place for vehicles to cross between Sweden and Europe. Located on the closest point in Sweden to Denmark, Denmark’s Port of Elsinore (Helsingor) is clearly visible, just three nautical miles to the east.

Known as the “Pearl of the Sound,” the Port of Helsingborg is an important shipping center and manufacturing center with connections by ferry and railway to both Sweden’s and Denmark’s transportation networks. In 2005, about 122 thousand people lived in the Port of Helsingborg, and that population was increasing by about 1.7 thousand people per year. Capital of Skane County, the Port of Helsingborg serves a regional population of about 300 thousand people, making it one of Sweden’s largest metropolitan areas.

Port History

The Port of Helsingborg has always been an important city due to its location on the Oresund. From the 9th Century, fishermen on the Raan River had busy trade with people from what would become Denmark and Germany. The Port of Helsingborg was first mentioned in historical records in 1085 due to its importance as a military and political center. In Europe’s Middle Ages, a strong fortress was built there.

Denmark ceded the Port of Helsingborg to Sweden in 1658, and they destroyed it several times after that. That year, King Charles X Gustav of Sweden came here to accept the lands from the Danes, and the town’s population of one thousand was there to meet him.

The Danes tried to take back the lands surrounding the Port of Helsingborg several times. In 1710, they sent 14 thousand soldiers who landed near the Port of Helsingborg. The Battle of Helsingborg did much damage to the city, and its recovery was slow.

In 1726, a single long wooden pier was the Port of Helsingborg. The wooden pier was replaced in 1766 with a stone structure that operated for about 70 years. Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, founder of Sweden’s current royalty, arrived in Sweden at that structure in 1810.

A new harbor for the Port of Helsingborg was completed by Count Baltzar von Platen who built the Gota Canal. The harbor basin, located in a protected area between two piers, was dedicated by King Karl XIV Johan in 1832. After that opening, the development of the Port of Helsingborg accelerated. When the toll for crossing The Sound was abolished in 1857, the city entered an era of commercial prosperity.

The Port of Helsingborg’s Inner Harbor was finished in 1867, and the North Harbor began operations in 1891 with train-ferry links between Sweden and Denmark. In 1923, the Ocean Harbor increased port capacity so that large ocean-going vessels could enter. The Oil Harbor was created in 1930 south of today’s Sound Terminal. The following year, the first car ferry brought 13 cars into the Port of Helsingborg.

After World War II, traffic through the port, both pedestrian and vehicular, increased by leaps and bounds, bringing new companies to the Port of Helsingborg. The South Harbor was established in 1962, and the Skane Terminal was opened in 1969, making the Port of Helsingborg an important international hub for both land and sea transport, particularly for containerized cargoes.

In 2005, the Port of Helsingborg’s new “Combiterminal” opened with the goal of combining different modes of transportation, making rail transport more prominent in moving cargo through the Port of Helsingborg. In 2008, the new Skane Terminal began operations for handling containers, increasing the surface area of the West Harbor by 25%.

Today, the Port of Helsingborg is an important regional center for business, transportation, and trade. Three ferry companies transport people across The Sound every day. IKEA’s international headquarters are located there, and Nicorette has a nicotine chewing gum manufacturing plant in the Port of Helsingborg.

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