Brand heaven Sweden


Trendsetter in fashion and design, Sweden looks to Asia for export growth. Connecting the two is Finnair, the airline that can pull off a Europe-Asia-Europe round-trip in less than 24 hours.

Stand-out brands like H&M, Ikea and Filippa K have made Sweden synonymous with stylish, affordable design. Add to this a significant trade vehicles, pharmaceuticals, non-crude oil and electronics, and you have a prosperous economy that derives roughly half its GDP from exports, according to World Bank indicators.

“We also have a lot of raw materials used in many sectors, so our export industry is extremely important. The EU region is by far the biggest market for Sweden, so our greatest growth potential is in the US and Asia, our core market, where I especially hope to see our share go up,” says Martin Werge, Finnair Cargo Sales Director for North Europe.
“Many Asian companies look to Sweden for design, trends and quality. With the increase in Asian people visiting Sweden for business and pleasure, this will hopefully have a positive effect on exports in years to come,” he predicts. 

“The new normal”

Forecasting close-range trends would require a crystal ball, however, a “rollercoaster” is the only word to describe recent market turmoil. Usually autumn is the prime export season, but the Swedish export market surprisingly contracted 5.6 per cent in September. 
“There is no such thing as ‘normal’ at the moment. The Swedish market keeps going up and down month by month, so it will be very interesting to follow developments over the coming months.”
Despite the occasional seasonal hiccough, Sweden will always be a cornerstone geography for Finnair Cargo, thanks to its prime location and strong, brand-driven export industry. “We are one of the top airlines in Sweden, but there is still so much potential for future growth,” affirms Werge.
“We probably aren’t the cheapest, but we don’t want to be either, because we are highly suitable for customers that need a fast, reliable service, especially from the Nordic market. Our service via the Helsinki hub offers the shortest transit time to Asia - we are capable of flying to Asia and back again in less than 24 hours with the same aircraft.”

Voice of experience

Finnair Cargo carries cargo to and from Sweden aboard a weekly total of 1,700–1,800 flights to Europe, Asia and JFK in New York. Its chief long-haul destinations are Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Korea and Hong Kong. Textiles, automotive parts and other commodities are among the top cargo items, but perishables, too, are “very big business”. 
Werge heads a Stockholm-based sales force that works closely with its Global Sales Agent, ACS Air Cargo Services AB. “Our sales people each have 25 years’ experience in the air freight industry, so they really know their product and how to meet customer needs. Our GSA team consists of former Finnair Cargo employees, so they know the company inside out, which is a very big advantage for us and our customers.”
After nearly six months with Finnair, Werge has learned to appreciate the company’s future-focused mindset. “It gives a newcomer like me a nice, warm feeling. To me, Finnair has always been a high quality carrier. We don’t want to settle – we want to keep offering higher quality to more destinations. I have been inspired by my colleagues’ strong belief in our capability to evolve.”
Click here to meet the Swedish sales team:
Text by Silja Kudel 
Photo by iStock

Published October 22, 2013

Category: Market updates