Monday, November 18, 2013

Container Shipping Served both North and South of the River as Freight Carrier Switches Services

Thames Region Sees Ongoing Competition for Box Traffic
Shipping News Feature

UK – Maritime activity within the River Thames region has seen many changes over centuries but with the rise of containerisation and the decline of the London Docks the past few decades has seen a sharp downturn from the heydays of the past century. With the development of the deep water container port at London Gateway things are set to look up, but across the water, at the mouth of the River Medway, other developments are taking place which sees an historic established industry player still ringing the changes.

London Thamesport, despite its name, is actually neither in London, nor on the River Thames, but its location is such that it can justify the title to offer a little clarity as to its geographical position as regards import and export traffic. Earlier this year MacAndrews, a name present in the world of British shipping for almost two centuries and now a CMA CGM subsidiary, switched the bulk of its services to the Hutchison owned container port from its previous landing point in Tilbury. The swap from Essex to the southern side of the estuary seems to have suited the short sea operator as the company has now confirmed changing its last remaining service to Thamesport.

London Thamesport lies only eight miles further from the M25 motorway compared to DP World’s London Gateway and offers fifteen metres depth from its two operational berths. Geoffrey Smith, Managing Director of MacAndrews, confirmed that it was the impressive performance of the Kent dock facilities which had prompted this latest development, saying:

“We have decided to consolidate all four of our weekly multimodal services at London Thamesport following the excellent berth productivity and minimal truck turnaround times given by the port over the last 6 months. Port operations are an important link in our multimodal door to door supply chain to our customers and our services from Iberia, Scandinavia and the Baltic require fast and efficient operations to provide customers with their products in the minimum transit time and that is something London Thamesport can guarantee.”

Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, owners of London Thamesport, was obviously delighted upon seeing the 750 TEU Canopus J, which serves MacAndrews on the Bilbao – UK route, making its first scheduled call at London Thamesport on Sunday 10 November, and commented:

“We welcome MacAndrew's decision to switch all its calls from Tilbury to London Thamesport. The choice of London Thamesport by MacAndrews for all their South East calls reflects the high level of customer service we provide and our relentless efforts to provide a highly efficient, individual service to our customers.

“We have proven over the last few months our ability to adapt to a changing environment quickly and deliver the levels of service MacAndrews quite rightly demand, and we look forward to building on this new line of service and delivering the products to the market.”

Photo: A rail mounted gantry crane in operation at London Thamesport.