Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Agreement Signed for UK to Get a New North Sea Ferry Terminal by 2025

Boost in Unaccompanied Traffic Post Brexit Credited
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Port of Immingham is to see a new ferry freight terminal developed following the signing of an agreement, reputedly for £100 million, between port operators Associated British Ports (ABP) and Swedish group Stena Line, the new facility to be managed by Stena for the next fifty years.

Stena Line is one of the largest ferry operators in the world with 18 routes, and 37 vessels, operating between 13 countries across Northern Europe. It currently runs four daily freight services from the Humber to The Netherlands and this major, long term commitment comes as freight routes between the UK and EU boom post Brexit.

This increase is largely due to the jump in numbers of unaccompanied trailers, a factor which comes about for a variety of reasons, not least the general shortage of HGV drivers coupled with uncertainty on clearance times after import/export formalities became more complex with Britain exiting the EU.

Additionally there has been anger amongst the road haulage community when fines have been levied on drivers after migrants were discovered in their vehicles having stowed away. Unaccompanied trailers leave the authorities with no clear person to hold responsible.

2021 saw Stena moving record levels of freight, this included a 28% year-on-year increase in unaccompanied freight and, at the start of the year, the company switched its Rotterdam freight service to the Port of Immingham, the largest port in the UK by tonnage. This has allowed the company to become the provider of both the terminal and shipping operations, which it says has resulted in improved benefits and expanded services to its significant freight customers in the region.

The move enables Stena to have more capacity and direct access to the Humber Estuary, hence the agreement, and means quicker turnaround and sailing times plus the option to use larger ferries as trade increases. The proposals outline the relocation of Stena Line’s current Immingham freight operations to a new site, adjacent to Immingham Outer Harbour, where ABP will develop the new purpose built terminal facility. Niclas Martensson, Chief Executive Officer of Stena Line comments:

“We are very pleased to announce that we will now take the next steps in the strategic vision for our routes between the UK and Continental Europe. Our freight levels are at record levels and are continuing to increase, so we want to build on this success and provide additional services to our most important business needs, those of our customers, with the development of a brand new terminal and berths at the Port of Immingham.

”Stena Line is pledging a significant long-term commitment that will bring a substantial boost to the region’s economy in terms of jobs and revenue. We look forward to working with Associated British Ports to develop this exciting project.”

ABP says it intends to submit an application for a Development Consent Order to the Secretary of State for Transport in early summer with a view to the new terminal facilities being operational in 2025 and Simon Bird, Humber Director, Associated British Ports, concluded:

“We’re delighted to welcome this new deal with Stena as it underlines the fact that ABP in the Humber is continuing to go from strength to strength. Stena will be joining a growing family of commercial partners who are choosing to use ABP’s ports in the Humber which have fantastic facilities and connections for traders across Europe and beyond.

"Our track record in recent years of investing in new infrastructure is making the Humber the place to be for trading links between the Midlands and North of England, and the rest of the World.”

Photo: ABP’s Port of Immingham – image by David Lee Photography.