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HANSA 01-2017

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Schifffahrt | Shipping No sign of slowdown of UK shortsea traffc The UK’s short sea traffc continues to hold up well, latest figures belying fears that the country’s intra-EU trade might suffer an immediate fall-off following the end-June Brexit referendum vote Typically UK ports handle around 500 m tonnes of cargo a year, of which around 20% is coastal trade and 40% traffic with EU countries. The Netherlands is the UK’s single largest seaborne trading partner, followed by France and then the US. Shipping and logistics company P&O Ferries is the single largest carrier of RoRo freight as well as passengers across the Channel, last year carrying 1.34 m tonnes – or over 100,000 freight units a month – on its main Dover-Calais route, an increase of 22% over 2014. Strong freight growth is now being shown on the crossing further north from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to Teesport, where volumes in Q3 2016 were up 16% year-on-year. To cater for the increase P&O has just enlarges its Zeebrugge terminal by 14 hectares, including a fourth berth and improved rail infrastructure, thereby doubling capacity to 700,000 units a year. »As the British economy continues to grow, we have made this investment because we have confidence that we can provide a onestop solution for continental exporters who want to do business with the hugely important UK market,« commented chief executive Helen Deeble at the terminal opening in November. P&O Ferries’ new route from Gothenburg in Sweden to the UK is likewise experiencing rapid growth, while sister logistics unit P&O Ferrymasters offers integrated road and rail connections to other EU countries further afield such as Italy, Poland and even Romania – where P&O says it hopes to eventually connect with cargoes arriving via China’s planned new Silk Road between Asia and Europe. Danish-based DFDS also operates on the Channel, where traffc growth for the first nine months comfortably exceeded the fleetwide average of 17%. As a result the company has decided to jumboize one of its freight vessels sailing between Germany and the UK by adding a 30 m plus to the »Primula Seaways«, thereby adding more than 800 lane metres’ capacity to the ship. Over on the Irish Sea the fastest growing carrier of trade is Seatruck, which has benefited from the opening of a new 125 mill. £ Bay Gateway relief road serving the Port of Heysham, where the company is headquartered. Peel Ports, owner of the facility, is investing a further 10 mill. £ in improvements to the port, including a new loading ramp, in order to cope with the growing traffc by allowing the berthing of larger RoRo vessels. Largest operator on the Irish Sea is Stena Line, which reported that 2016 had been a record year for its car, passenger and freight markets on its Belfast to Cairnryan, Liverpool and Heysham routes. Growth in Ireland In fact, Irish ports’ unitised traffc – comprising both RoRo and LoLo – grew by 6% in Q3 compared with the same period in 2015, according to offcial figures from the Irish Marine Development 38 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 1

Schifffahrt | Shipping Offce, while RoRo alone was up 5%. Since nearly all RoRo traffc moves between Ireland and the UK, this freight segment »is a simple but reliable indicator of the level of trade between both economies,« comments the IMDO. One new entrant on short sea trades to the UK is Norwegian start-up container line Viasea Shipping, which will serve the four British ports of Immingham, Thamesport, Teesport and Blyth in addition to its primary markets of Norway and the Benelux countries. The company is led by Morten Pettersen who has previous experience in the short sea market with Unifeeeder, Tschudi Shipping and Samskip. Backed by a large Norwegian forwarder, the line has an interesting business model of trying to attract intra-European container traffc off trucks onto short sea shipping services that call at smaller regional ports, instead of relying on feedering into larger overseas ports that are more likely to suffer from congestion. Cargo is being carried on A2B-Online ships of around 500 TEU in size and the company says that reliable schedules and good customer service will be key to its success. UK-based short sea shipowner Carisbrooke Shipping is consolidating operations by combining its fleet of nearly 50 small bulk and multipurpose carriers, which serve mainly northern Europe, with the similar sized fleet of Nova Marine Carriers of Lugano, Switzerland, which serve mainly the Mediterranean (HANSA 12/2016). The combined fleet will be streamlined down to around 60 vessels, with older tonnage disposed of. Carlsbrooke describes the merger as »an extremely positive development during a challenging time for the industry«. Regarding UK port developments, Hull is gearing up for greater short sea trade with its new »Greenport« area targeting renewable energy business. Siemens has just inaugurated a factory at the port that produces 75 m blades for giant 7- and 8MW wind turbines, while a sister facility producing nacelles for wind turbines is to open shortly in Cuxhaven. London Thamesport is adding a new purpose-built steel handling facility for use by the Armitt Group and its customers. The 12,000 m2 facility will handle breakbulk cargoes from both short and deepsea trades, from Europe and Asia respectively, forming part of what Armitt plans to develop into a fully integrated supply chain for steel products across the UK. The new terminal will include a rail connection and be able to accommodate a complete cargo train, thereby offering easy links to the rest of the UK rail network. Elsewhere, Scandinavian forest products group UPM is centralising all its paper and plywood short sea traffc from Finland to the UK into the single gateway of Port of Tilbury, just outside London, in order to improve supply chain effciency and provide greater service reliability to customers. Shipments will take place via Transfennica vessels from Rauma and Kotka to Tilbury’s specialised London Paper Terminal. Since the 2012 Olympics Tilbury has also operated the London Construction Link whereby large-scale supplies of building materials can be unloaded at the port and then transhipped by barge into central London. Currently traffc remains high servicing infrastructure and large building projects already underway but this is one area where it is predicted a Brexit-induced hiatus may set in beginning next year. ED Shipping and logistics company P&O Ferries is the single largest carrier of RoRo freight as well as passenger across the Channel Photo: P&O HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 1 39

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