Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Deep Water Container Shipping Port Officially Opens Latest Rail Freight Facilities

East Coast Sees More Capacity as Sixtieth Daily Track Service Announced
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Port of Felixstowe has officially opened the new rail terminal which doubles rail capacity at the container port. The £40 million overall investment, £35 million from parent company Hutchinson Ports with the balance financed by the European Union Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) fund, forms part of an overall scheme we have reported previously to increase freight capacity at the port which commenced with the new deep water vessel berths (8 and 9) which opened to shipping in November 2011 to accommodate larger container vessels. The new North Rail Terminal was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by His Royal Highness the Duke of York, local dignitaries and a large number of the port’s customers. Commenting on the new terminal, Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK), owner of the Port of Felixstowe, said:

“Rail is becoming the mode of choice for an increasing number of shipping lines, forwarders and shippers to move their goods to and from ports. It provides cost, environmental and reliability benefits for many customers and the Port of Felixstowe offers more rail services, to more destinations, more often than any other UK port.

“I am also pleased to announce today that the 60th daily rail service at Felixstowe will be operated by Freightliner Limited. The new service will increase further the choice available to Felixstowe customers. The new North Rail Terminal will increase still further our rail capability. By allowing us to run longer trains, as well as more of them, it will allow users of the port to improve the efficiency of their supply chains and at the same time reducing cost for them.”

Dr John Meredith, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Port Holdings said that the Port of Felixstowe was Hutchison Ports Holdings’ first investment outside Hong Kong and the new North Rail Terminal is evidence of its continuing commitment to Felixstowe and the UK market. He added that the new facility complements the recent investments the company has made to ensure that Felixstowe has a range of facilities currently unequalled anywhere else in the UK. Speaking at the ceremony, the Duke of York said:

“Coming here today and seeing how Felixstowe is taking the challenge of delivering goods and services for British exporters and British importers to the next level is really encouraging, and I would wish not just to congratulate you on so far, but also encourage you to continue the good work and investment you have committed to the United Kingdom.”

The terminal allows the port to accommodate trains of up to 35-wagons length whilst 10 kilometres of new track has been laid for the terminal which provides nine additional tracks, making a total of 20 tracks on the port allowing the terminal to handle 1.1 million TEU’s per year. The terminal also has the only rail traverser at a UK intermodal terminal, which was installed earlier this year. The traverser is a detachable set of rails which can transfer a fully loaded train onto adjacent tracks as there was insufficient room to install a points or turntable system.

Further development work is expected to be undertaken on the Felixstowe South development should demand and economic circumstances allow according to an answer Stephen Hammond, Parliamentary under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, gave to a Parliamentary question asked of him last month. Of this latest ceremony Mr Hammond commented:

"Felixstowe has long been at the forefront of efforts to promote the use of rail for container freight and thus to reduce congestion and environmental impact from HGVs. The investment in this terminal will also complement Network Rail's own investment in the Strategic Freight Network, which the Department for Transport is supporting."

Photo: The Duke of York congratulates Clemence Cheng on the inauguration.