Cargo ship needed to store unsold cars off Swedish coast

Car sales in Sweden have fallen off so sharply that Japanese automaker Toyota was forced to lease a cargo ship in Malmö to store 2,500 unsold cars, according to a port official.

“The Swedish-Norwegian company Wallenius Wilhelmsen has reached an agreement with Toyota to let them use the Morning Glory cargo ship to store some cars, and we load and unload the cars,” Bart Steijärt, in charge of car stocks at the Malmö harbour, told AFP.

More than 30,000 cars of all brands are currently piling up in the port, including the 2,500 on board the 195-metre (640-foot) Morning Glory.

The port has a maximum capacity of around 27,500 cars, Steijärt said.

A new parking lot is being built at the port to provide more space for cars and is due to be completed in April.

“Since last summer, we’ve had a lot of cars in the harbour and we started to lack parking areas as the car sales dropped dramatically, and then the vessel arrived on January 7,” Steijärt said.

Car sales have come to a screeching halt around the world since the global economic crisis erupted late last year, leading to an overload of stocks.

In Sweden, only 14,603 cars were sold in February, a drop of 31.3 percent from the same month a year earlier, statistics showed.