Swedish dockworkers are set to walk out on Wednesday in a dispute that could impact both exports and imports of goods. The Swedish Dockworkers' Union (Hamnarbetarförbundet) is in talks with representatives of employers Ports of Sweden. But if the parties do not manage to reach an agreement, the union's 1,300 members will walk out at midnight on Wednesday.
The role of harbour staff not linked to the dockworkers' union during the strike is still unclear, but export and import companies said they were preparing for a worst-case scenario.
"Sweden is one of the world's most export-dependent countries and its economy cannot cope without functioning ports. It will certainly have a harmful impact on society," stated Anna Lööf of employers' organization Association of Swedish Engineering Industries.
Around half of Swedish food is imported from abroad, and a large share of that arrives by boat, writes Swedish business magazine Dagens Industri. It names bananas as the food item most at risk, with a predicted shortage on supermarket shelves in less than a week.
A strike would also affect exports. Around two thirds of all Volvo cars made at the plant in Sweden leave the country via the port in Gothenburg.