Thursday, October 4, 2018

As Brexit Looms so North Sea Container Services Continue to Expand

Short Sea Box Traffic Gets Another Boost
Shipping News Feature
BELGIUM – UK – With Brexit approaching global logistics company Samskip, has launched a new twice weekly short sea container service between the Port of Antwerp in Belgium, and Associated British Port's (ABP) Port of Hull in the North of England. Departing from Antwerp on October 12, a 508 TEU vessel will sail from Associated Terminal Operator's (ATO) multimodal facility, and will arrive at the Port of Hull on October 14. In July Samskip transferred its Icelandic service to the Hull facility from the opposite side of the Humber at Immingham.

With fears that the Channel ports will suffer congestion post Brexit container and unaccompanied trailer services are predicted to expand on the North Sea routes and this new connection is in addition to Samskip’s existing short sea services connecting Rotterdam with Tilbury, Hull and Grangemouth (eight per week) and the recently added three times weekly Amsterdam-Hull service. The partners say this new Antwerp to Hull routing offers shippers a distinct local alternative. Richard Beales, Samskip UK & Ireland Regional Director commented:

“In combination with our daily sailings to/from Rotterdam and following the successful launch of our three times weekly Amsterdam to Hull service in March, we are excited at the prospect of offering a new solution that can meet the requirements of the local and hinterland market in and around Antwerp, especially given the excellent rail and inland waterway links available.

“Manufacturers and logistics providers have a new efficient choice that offers an optimal routing, reduces their exposure to increasing road congestion and driver shortages, is cost effective and reduces CO2 in the supply chain.

“With the current Brexit uncertainty we believe that our spread of dedicated short sea services can offer robust options for companies wanting to prepare by de-risking their supply chain.”

Container trade through the Humber Ports remains buoyant and ABP is confident that this trend will continue. Last year, ABP invested £14 million to upgrade and expand the Port of Hull’s Container Terminal, which the company say has driven further growth, with the three new sailings from Iceland, Amsterdam and Ghent all coming in to Hull as a result. The Port of Hull expects the new sailings will see around 15,000 extra containers handled at the Hull Container Terminal. ABP Humber Director, Simon Bird, said:

"ABP has continued to drive substantial investments in its Hull Container Terminal, increasing container storage space and acquiring state-of-the-art equipment. We also make continual advancements in training our operational staff to ensure the best possible service and turnaround times for our customers."

Total container traffic through Antwerp increased by 8.3% in the first half of 2018 over the equivalent period in 2017, according to Port of Antwerp figures. The UK is Antwerp’s third largest maritime trading partner, contributing around 15 million tonnes of freight every year. Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren commented:

“We welcome Samskip to the Port of Antwerp based on their strategic decision to use Antwerp as departure point for their new shortsea service to the UK. Mobility in and around the port remains a serious challenge and is therefore one of our strategic spearheads to ensure further sustainable growth. In our aim to create a modal shift that brings the share of truck transport down, it is crucial to offer efficient alternative means of transport and shortsea is clearly one of them. This new shortsea service offered by Samskip, who has excellent expertise in this field, will definitely support us to achieve this goal.”