Skåne Region is the southernmost region of Sweden. The region's “blue” maritime industry is well advanced in offering products and services that contribute to reducing the environmental and climate impact of shipping.
The region in brief
More than 1.34 million people live in Region Skåne (ca 122 p/km2, 11,027 km2). A considerable increase in population took place during 2015 due to asylum seekers.
The region’s major cities are Malmö (population 333 633), Helsingborg, Lund and Kristianstad. Important ports (container, ro-ro, passenger, cruising) are Copenhagen Malmö Port, Trelleborg and Ystad. Further ports are Åhus and Landskrona (bulk). Skåne has 33 municipalities, 16 of which lie along the 650 km long coast.
While Skåne’s share of the Swedish population has increased since the 1980s, its share of national GDP however, has not followed this curve (current GDP around € 49 billion, ca. € 375,000 per capita). At 76%, the region’s employment rate is the lowest in Sweden and many people are not included in the labour market.
Some 2% of the working population in Skåne are included in the agriculture sectors, a further 18% in manufacturing and 79% in the services sector.
In a national context, Skåne has relative specialisations in agriculture, distributive trade and tourism-related services and professional and scientifi c services. Skåne has traditionally been a major contributor to food production in Sweden and has developed related activity in food and beverages manufacturing and packaging. Skåne’s geographic location as the connecting point for Sweden with Europe is reflected in the important role of distributive trade and transport services in the regional economy.
The share of GDP invested in Research and Innovation is among the highest in all of European regions.
The blue economy in Region Skåne today
The majority of Skåne-based companies related to the “blue” maritime industry offers products and services that contribute to reducing the environmental and climate impact of shipping. 30-40 years ago, Skåne was home to one of the world’s top of the range shipyards. Though long gone, it served as the basis for a flourishing industry related to shipping.
One of the major challenges for shipping is how to become sustainable. The industry in Skåne offers a wide range of products and services within that field, ranging from safety valves to ballast water treatment systems, from load optimisation systems to communications, from monitoring systems to scrubbers and more. One of the biggest repair yards in northern Europe is also located in Skåne. Numerous ship owners use this ISO14000 certified shipyard for carrying out the regular inspections, repairs and upgrades. This industry segment works on the global market and is successful due to its quality and flexibility, as well as responsiveness to customers’ needs.
Another part of the industry is heavily involved in the value chains for renewable energy, specifically wind energy. Within this area, Skåne offers a wide range of products and services, from production of wind towers to the tiniest components used in power plants.
When it comes to aquaculture, we have a small but growing industry, reaching from algae cultivation to Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS).
Many of the Skåne companies involved in the blue sector are involved in various different value chains and some of them would hardly identify themselves as belonging to the “blue” sector. These are companies with links to the food industry such as process systems, packaging, clean tech, heat and power and machinery. A key group are mechanic enterprises with advanced manufacturing as well as those with high competence in systemic solutions.
The cluster Swedish Maritime Technology Forum (SMTF) is a business network with 100 member companies covering the full spectrum of suppliers to the shipping-, offshore- and leisure boat industry. SMTF is part of Sweden’s largest research institute RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden, under the section Maritime Research. The mission is to strengthen the industry and generate employment by raising members profile, provide platforms and networks for both maritime and cross-industrial collaboration and engaging the members in national and international development projects. The focus is on sustainability, innovation and business.
The Danish-Swedish Medicon Valley is one of the largest open innovation arenas within life science in Europe. More than 350 companies working in biotech, pharmaceuticals and medtech are part of Medicon Valley Alliance. Sustainable Business Hub is Sweden's largest network in clean tech with more than 100 members, and is working to help environmental companies to start up and operate. The Malmö-based Packbridge is working to develop the next generation of packaging solutions. They have more than 100 member companies within the packaging and logistics sector. Skåne Food Innovation Network is working to develop the food sector with members and influential partners. They are involved in training, opinion issues and trainee programmes.
The blue economy of tomorrow in
Region Skåne – our vision
Blue growth is not a focal area in Skåne but of cross-sectoral importance for all three priorities (areas of innovation): Smart Materials, Personal Health and Smart Sustainable Cities.
Smart materials will unlock the global growth potential when the facilities ESS and Max IV will be established in Skåne. MAX-lab is an electron accelerator laboratory for synchrotron radiation research, nuclear physics and accelerator physics. The ESS will be a multidisciplinary scientific research centre harnessing the world’s most powerful neutron source. Researchers will be able to study the materials of everyday life, from plastics and proteins to medicines and molecules. Nanomaterials have a huge potential in the Blue Economy.
Personal Health has the primary objective of creating the preconditions for innovative solutions and scalable solutions for god health, high quality of living and personal engagement in future healthcare, by cooperation on all levels.
Smart Sustainable Cities deals with knowledge, products, services and systems tackling the challenges for cities in the field of sustainability.
The blue potential is primarily based on crosscutting effects between blue and non-blue value chains. An example for a field where different value chains will meet is the expected substantial development of offshore wind energy in the Baltic Sea, which will provide an opportunity for many Skåne companies in advanced manufacturing to deliver innovative products and services. Nanotechnology (smart materials) will be of growing importance to provide cost effective solutions, but there are also clear links to systemic issues within Smart Sustainable Cities.
Transnational cooperation interests in Blue Growth
Skåne has a long history and interest in the maritime industry. The maritime cluster works with three sectors within the maritime field; a one is shipping, ship equipment and service providers another is the leisure boat industry and the third is offshore energy production. There is a particular interest and built up knowledge in environmental friendly production and products within the maritime field and a wish to develop green innovative technologies and systems. Lack of competence is a challenge for the industry in general and thereby also true for the blue sector and there is a need to tackle this.