Iceland is located midway between Europe and North America and is highly dependent on both imports and exports. Iceland has therefore developed extensive air and maritime services to handle its cargo and passenger transportation needs, and both harbour and airport capacities are being steadily increased.
Maritime transport to and from Iceland
More than 99% of all imports and exports of goods and materials to and from Iceland are carried by ship. Highly efficient transportation systems have been developed in Iceland with forwarding networks overseas, and logistics know-how is on a par with the best among the industrialized countries.
Liner and coastal services operate to the major ports of Europe and North America and are all fully containerised. Bulk imports and exports, and imports of oil, are carried by both foreign and domestic vessels. Typical sailing times from Reykjavik to major ports are 4-5 days to Europe and 8-10 days to North America.
There are 57 ports in Iceland for ocean-going vessels, all ice-free year-round and the majority built for fishing vessels. Some 15 ports have appreciable cargo activity. Large harbours handling ships up to 40,000 DWt are in operation at three developed industrial sites and deep-water harbours can be extended or constructed at competitive cost to suit large industry.
The Port of Reykjavik is Iceland's principal port, receiving more than 70% of all imports to Iceland, and direct scheduled sailings to Europe also operate from three main ports in the western, northern and eastern regions respectively.
Roads and Utilities in Iceland
Iceland has an extensive road system that connects the various coastal communities around the country and is kept open all year round. Trucking has increased dramatically in recent years and there are now daily haulage services from Reykjavik to every major community.
Air transport to and from Iceland
Air transport to and from Iceland is through four international-standard airports located in Iceland. There are two in the southwest, one in the east and one in the north. Keflavik is the main international airport and a border point for entering Europe under the Schengen Agreement, is in the southwest, located about 50 km west of the capital, Reykjavik.
Iceland is strategically located for air communications with either side of the Atlantic. Flight times are 2-3 hours to major gateways in Europe and 5-6 hours to the east coast of North America. Some 20 international gateways are served from Keflavik Airport, most on a daily basis and some with up to 3 or 4 flights a day. Flight frequency is 115 international flights a week.
In the domestic market, air services operate regularly (daily) to main regional towns.
Cargo Transport to and from Iceland
Cargo is carried both to and from Iceland in belly space of passenger jets and by cargo-only craft.
Air freight services involve especially temperature-controlled cargoes and express delivery services. Iceland serves as a stopover point for some transatlantic express delivery services and many major international operators are represented there.
Several Icelandic freight forwarding companies specialize in both inbound and outbound sea- and airborne cargoes on a worldwide basis. Most co-operate closely with international freight forwarding companies.
Furthermore, Icelandic transport and logistics companies have invested in freight forwarding operations not only at home but also in Europe, and have an effective network of contacts and agents to provide door-to-door delivery in many parts of the world.
Bonded warehouses, cold stores, cargo hotels and a full range of other cargo handling facilities are available in Iceland, not only for direct export or import but also to ensure careful and efficient handling of goods for through-shipment.
A high level of expertise is found in dedicated fields in Iceland, such as temperature-controlled cargo, refrigeration technology, vessels and aircraft maintenance.
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