Thursday, April 7, 2011

Logistics, Port And Rail Freight Groups Join Forces To Open New European Container Gateway

Cumbria and Teeside to Witness Significant Developments
Shipping News Feature

UK – Ports are flavour of the month at the moment for the freight investment community, with news of DP World’s development in the Thames ongoing and numerous other schemes to enhance the supply chains throughout different regions, three partners have this week used the Multimodal 2011 freight and logistics exhibition to draw attention to two very significant developments to promote intermodal container operations at ports in Northern England.

Firstly a cooperation between the Port of Workington, Direct Rail Services (DRS),and TDG is designed to develop the port into a significant container and logistics hub for the UK's North West region. One of the particular strengths of the port is its integral part in a new container service route that will include Rotterdam, Belfast/Dublin and Workington, details of which are currently being finalised.

As one of the largest Cumbrian ports Workington has aspirations to be a more significant North Western hub after £4 million worth of repairs to the infrastructure following flood damage in November 2009. It is a key investment project of Britain's Energy Coast, with the funding provided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which is contributing £1.7m and Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) which is putting up £4 million for the scheme, which will be used to create a new container handling facility, including the installation of a new harbour crane to enable the port to handle large shipping containers from all over Europe.

The trio of freight related companies intend to use their collaboration to produce a new containerized end-to-end logistics option at the North West Port. DRS is a multimodal national rail freight operator with a countrywide span of depots which will supply equipment and engineering support. TDG, formerly the Transport Development Group, is now part of the French logistics and freight forwarding specialist Norbert Dentressangle.

Neil McNicholas, Managing Director for DRS believes that his company’s introduction of lowliner wagons, coupled with the new investment and the fact that the three groups could work together represented a real opportunity to open up a premium logistics service in the region.

Speaking of the new arrangement David Barron, International Services Director at TDG said:

"It's a great opportunity to utilise the expertise of all three companies to create the optimum service for international customers. TDG will be pivotal in providing forwarding/facilitation as a seamless flow throughout the supply chain. Our track record at the Ports of Teesside, Tilbury, Dagenham, Felixstowe and Bilbao coupled with our growing international services portfolio demonstrates our skill levels in this area. We are looking forward to being able to forge growth and a sustainable future for the new services at the Port of Workington".

Colin Sharpe, Business Development Manager at Port of Workington pointed out the benefits for potential customers adding:

"This collaboration will make it far easier for our customers to access all transportation modes around the port. They will just have a single point of contact, whether they need rail, road or sea transport. We're taking port-centric logistics very seriously indeed."

Meanwhile over in Middlesbrough, multi modal and logistics specialist AV Dawson have revealed their own plans for a new £2.6 million container freight development as part of a £10 million infrastructure expansion and improvement plan. The company says work will commence later this year after planning permission was granted recently and that, once complete, the AV Dawson Tees Intermodal Terminal will have rail sidings capable of handling trains carrying 80 boxes with storage for 1200 in its 16,000 square metres of operational area.

The company intends to add a 200 metre deepwater berth to service the growing energy and subsea markets estimated to cost a further £4.5 million plus a £2.4 million bulk storage warehouse. The scheme will compete directly with PD Ports whose own plans we wrote of earlier this week. Both groups are developing plans after forecasts that container traffic is liable to increase over 7% by 2016.

Dawson has a road haulage fleet of over 200 trailers and Gary Dawson, Managing Director of AV Dawson believes the shift to containerisation has been partially driven by modern manufacturing methods, he said:

"There has been a sustained push towards moving freight by containers for some time now because of the benefits it brings in terms of lower shipping costs and cuts to shipping time. From our perspective, our ability to move goods by road, rail and sea places us in a prime position to handle container traffic. By making this significant investment in developing a dedicated intermodal terminal, we are further strengthening our ability to move goods swiftly and efficiently on behalf of our clients."

Photo:- The energy sector is behind much of the growth in the North of England