Friday, December 11, 2020

Change to EU Hours of Driving Rules Leads Weekly Compendium of News

The Smaller Headlines You Might Have Missed
Shipping News Feature

UK – This week the Department for Transport (DfT) said that in response to pressures on local and national supply chains, and pursuant to Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, it has introduced a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers' hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales from 12.01am on 10 December 2020 to 11.59pm on 30 December 2020.

This is as a consequence of urgent and exceptional issues related to certain road transport operations, including in the context of port congestion, unusual demand patterns and the effects of coronavirus related restrictions on supply chains and demand on them.

UK – Immediately following our news yesterday that ECMT permits had been allocated to UK hauliers (far fewer than they applied for) came the news that the European Commission has announced a contingency measure to apply for international road haulage in early 2021. The RHA says it is likely that ECMT permits will still be needed for transit across the EU to non-EU States (Switzerland, Ukraine, Norway, etc.) or to move goods between EU States.

However UK international operators will be able to undertake international road haulage between the UK and EU without the need for ECMT permits until at least 30 June 2021. No arrangements are in place for movements after 30 June 2021. It seems cabotage will not be permitted at all for UK hauliers in the EU, nor will cross trade of loads between EU states be allowed under these rules.

UK – Maritime union RMT has registered concern over the potential impact on local jobs and the taxpayer after P&O Ferries moved the out of service Pride of York roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ferry from mooring in Hull to Rotterdam. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The Pride of York and its crew kept freight, passengers and cars moving between Hull and the Low Countries for nearly thirty years, including during the pandemic when the taxpayer kept the critical route to Zeebrugge open.

”P&O could deploy the Pride of York from Rotterdam as part of the Freight Capacity Framework Agreement to 2024, but the Government has not placed any requirements for UK crew to deliver those taxpayer funded services. This is a sad day for UK seafarers and a measure of how P&O’s owners and other shipping companies have got us all over a barrel. The Government needs to wake up to this fact, and fast.”

UK – The Port of Grangemouth has announced a multimillion-pound investment in its rail freight offering which it says will cement its position as the key strategic freight and export/import hub for Scotland. The £3 million investment will create an extended dual rail siding of 775 metres capable of handling the longest freight trains on the UK network.

When operational early next year, this will be the first Scottish rail freight terminal to offer this and provide enhanced container / domestic intermodal options particularly for customers in the food, drink and perishables sectors across the Scottish freight community. Existing services link Grangemouth and its sister port in Tilbury on the Thames with a connection through Daventry. Construction of the new rail extension starts this month and is expected to welcome its first train in January 2021 building on current rail volumes at the port.

UK – FRANCE – Getlink, owners of Eurotunnel, has welcomed approval of the cable pull to enable deployment of ElecLink, the 1000MW electrical interconnector between the United Kingdom and France through the Channel Tunnel. This follows safety and connection tests and will enable the completion of the interconnector construction, following on from the completion of the converter stations which are now connected to the RTE and National Grid networks.

Works on the cable pull are expected to start in February 2021 and finish in summer 2021. The cable pull will take place during scheduled maintenance nights in the North rail tunnel. Following this work, an in-depth testing and commissioning phase will take place before commercial commissioning, scheduled for mid-2022. Yann Leriche, Getlink’s Chief Executive Officer said ElecLink will contribute to the robustness of European supply and to the energy transition.

CÔTE D’IVOIRE – Maersk has chosen the new Agility warehouse project in Abidjan to house its new storage, deconsolidation and distribution facility in the economic capital of the country. The newly opened 5,000 m2 facility is designed to handle 3,900 pallet positions and meet the end-to-end requirements of Maersk’s global customers, including those in Retail, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, and Technology. The Agility warehouses are located on the main highway from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro, which leads to neighbouring Mali and is strategically situated adjacent to the new PK24 industrial zone of Abidjan.

IRELAND – FRANCE – Doubtless with Brexit in mind Stena Line has announced that it will add an additional freight-only vessel to its Rosslare to Cherbourg route from 4 January 2021. The Stena Foreteller will join the Stena Horizon which already operates on the route, doubling the freight capacity as well as the frequency of sailings between Ireland and the Continent.

The Rosslare to Cherbourg service is an increasingly important freight link between Ireland and the Continent. Stena Foreteller will provide an additional 3 000 lane metres of freight capacity per trip and can accommodate a mix of accompanied and unaccompanied traffic with on board facilities for up to 12 freight drivers.

Photo: Agility warehouse Abidjan.