Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Container Shipping at DP World Southampton Demonstrates Capacity for Freight

Two Giant Box Carriers Berth Simultaneously
Shipping News Feature

UK – Whilst many eyes are fixed on DP World’s latest investment in a container port, the strategically placed London Gateway project emerging from the River Thames itself, the company still presents a formidable presence with the UK’s only South Coast container freight terminal, DP World Southampton which as the second largest such deep sea shipping facility in the UK reinforced its position on Monday with the tandem berthing of two of the world’s newest and largest box carriers.

For Hapag-Lloyd’s Hamburg Express it was the maiden call for the 13,000+ TEU, 142,000 gross tonnage vessel whilst at 366 metres and with a 13,500 TEU capacity the Jebel Ali of the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) also grosses out at over 140,000 tonnes. DP World point out to enable an idea of scale that placed atop each other the two ships would be equivalent to nearly two and a half times the height of The Shard skyscraper in London, Europe’s tallest building at just under 310 metres.

Southampton, no doubt aware of the threat from Felixstowe, London Gateway etc., is not resting on its laurels and the port is preparing to start redevelopment works to cement its ability to handle multiple numbers of this next generation of giant container ships. Already sustained improvements at the port culminated in the breaking of productivity records earlier this year when 603 containers were moved by one crane in a 12-hour shift on the Hyundai Together – an equivalent to 50 moves an hour.

Both ships were welcomed by senior figures from DP World Southampton and Associated British Ports (ABP). Doug Morrison, ABP’s Port Director in Southampton and Chris Lewis, Managing Director of DP World Southampton, described the calls by the two ships as ushering in “a new era” for the port, which generates an estimated 10,000 jobs in the region with Mr Lewis saying:

“This is an historic occasion for the terminal, and one that illustrates how Southampton is geared up to handle these gigantic vessels. Against this exciting backdrop, we aim to be the container terminal of choice for customers in the UK and, as a result, secure and create valuable jobs throughout the supply chain, from the quayside to the supermarket shelves. Our customers rightly expect the best of operational capability at a deep-sea container terminal, as well as the best productivity, flexibility and fastest turnaround times.”

Mr Morrison was quick to point out the strategic importance of the port with regard to competition both at home and on the continent saying:

“These giant container vessels, with all the economies of scale they bring, are predicted to account for more than half of the capacity of the world’s total container fleet by 2015. By way of personal experience, in my seven years here container ships have nearly doubled in TEU capacity. Shipping lines are drawn to Southampton because our location means a minimum deviation from the main shipping lanes thereby offering their customers faster transit times. This means that we are often the first and last port of call in and out of Northern Europe. With an inspirational ‘can-do’ culture, the DP World Southampton team is breaking ship and landside productivity records to ensure that Southampton stays ahead of its British competitors and ranks among the best in Europe.”