Monday, September 10, 2018

Humber Ports Expand as Container Traffic Targeted After Major Bulk Freight Investments

Changes in Cargo Trade Lanes After Brexit Anticipated
Shipping News Feature
UK – The anticipation of major changes in cargo trade flows has influenced Associated British Ports (ABP) to undertake further investment with a major expansion plan for its container handling operations in the Port of Immingham. It seems Brexit is the spur to now improve the Immingham container terminal facilities, with ABP, having similarly spent recently circa £14 million in Hull, saying the cost of the overall schemes will total around £50 million. Shipping volumes of box freight last year in the region increased significantly according to ABP figures.

In July Samskip transferred its Icelandic box trade to the new facilities in Hull from Immingham and a couple of months earlier I-Motion announced a new container service to run between Hull and Ghent in Belgium. Upgrading the Immingham facilities is aimed at similarly boosting imports and exports.

ABP claims that Immingham holds the title of ‘Britain’s Biggest Port’ by tonnage and handles everything from RoRo traffic to bulk cargoes, oil and biomass imports as well as box and general freight. The Hull improvements included new, purpose-built gantry cranes and now the port management says it anticipates this even larger £36 million investment will generate container throughput in the neighbouring port increasing by up to 50% by 2020.

The 68,000 TEU that passed through Immingham in 2013 had almost trebled by last year when 183,000 twenty foot equivalent units were handled. ABP believes the anticipated problems at the southern ports, such as Dover, will generate a need for disbursing freight further north as shippers seek to reduce potential delays. On releasing the news of the development Simon Bird, Regional Director for ABP Humber, said:

“Trade through the Humber Ports remains buoyant and we are confident that this trend will continue as we invest in our infrastructure. The Humber Ports play a vital role as a gateway for trade across the North of England, the Midlands and beyond, and we are committed to seizing the opportunities that lay ahead of us. The Port of Immingham is already the biggest port in the country by tonnage, but signs are indicating that we have the potential to grow significantly in the coming years.”

Certainly the region has assumed an important role in Britain’s trade with the four ports of Immingham, Hull, Grimsby and Goole handling over 58 million tonnes of cargo annually, including over 1 million TEU. This overall tonnage includes the first two seeing around 50 million tonnes of that total. Energy represents the major part of the trade with the Drax Power biomass investments in both ports and Hull making a major contribution in the offshore wind energy field as well as the oil transfer facilities.