Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Major UK Export and Import News at Container and Bulk Freight Port Facilities This Month

As One Major Tenant Commits Another Box Terminal Management Changes Hands
Shipping News Feature
UK – Much happening in the world of British ports of late besides the rush to comply with the incoming SOLAS regulations which take effect from July 1. Not only has one of the world’s largest metal recycling firms, EMR, has committed to remain in its existing facility in Tilbury Dock with the signing of a new 25 year lease, but the company has announced it will be upgrading its facilities and investing around £3 million in improved ship loading equipment. The site acts as an export freight hub for the company’s numerous depots around London and handles over 1 million tonnes of UK-produced scrap metal, mainly iron and steel, every year.

EMR processes scrap at its 150 or so global sites, recycling around 10 million tonnes a year with an annual turnover in excess of £2.5 billion. At Tilbury the processed scrap metal, whose origin could be from end-of-life products as diverse as railway tracks to the steel from shredded cars, is loaded on to vessels that can carry up to 42,000 tonnes at a time and be transported to destinations as far away as India or Korea. Bob Garwood, EMR’s UK CEO commented:

“We are delighted that we will be continuing to export from Tilbury which is one of four deep sea export facilities we operate in the UK. The investment we are making in upgrading the facilities will help to ensure that the site is competitive and has the capacity to meet the needs of the group over the next 10 years”.

Staying with the Essex port the owners, Forth Ports, last week saw its subsidiary company, the London Container Terminal (LCT) take delivery of their eight new Kalmar straddle carriers to cope with the increased number of import and export boxes passing through the facility. The ESC450W straddles arrived aboard the specialist vessel the BBC Nordland and have been made with specifications to match the 14 similar units acquired in 2013 to ensure consistency in the fleet. The new carriers have a 50 tonne load carrying capacity with twin-lift spreaders capable of handling the full range of container sizes.

Three of the new straddles are part of LCT’s equipment replacement programme, with the other five going into service to meet the increase in container business at the terminal. The current fleet at the terminal is now 40 straddles and over the past four years LCT has invested in two Paceco ship-to-shore cranes, a Liebherr 550 mobile crane, 14 new Kalmar straddle carriers, a single reception gate covering both security and container processing, new cranes, a bespoke ICT system and surfacing work. Forth Ports’ investment programme at London Container Terminal comes to around £20 million in total. Stuart Wallace, Divisional Director of Forth Ports commented:

“It’s great to see our new straddles arrive this week. With this further investment we continue to secure Tilbury’s position as a key shipping and distribution location with unrivalled access to London and the South East of England. LCT is one of the most efficient UK ports for handling containers, bringing benefits to our customers with improved turnover of vessels and road side trucks. Tilbury handles in excess of half a million containers each year, and is the only UK port truly servicing both deep sea and short sea customers. Customers also benefit from access to Europe’s largest portside chill store which NFT opened at the port this year.”

Associated British Ports (ABP), the owners of Hull Container Terminal, have invested £15 million in the facility which they took over on May 1 from PD Ports whose lease had ended. Services for shipping group Samskip are to continue as normal with 39 staff from the previous principals transferring to ABP. The 30-acre operation handles more than 9,000 containers per month and discharges vessels from Rotterdam, Tilbury and Grangemouth.

The new investment is in port handling equipment including orders for includes two new Liebherr gantry cranes, as well as a fleet of 21 reach stackers, tractors and trailers. ABP Director Humber, Simon Bird explained:

“The opportunity arose for ABP to run the terminal when our agreement with PD Ports came to an end. We already run a very successful container operation in Immingham, so it made sense for us to look to operate the Hull terminal too. The transition has been a smooth one and many of the terminal’s existing employees are now part of the ABP workforce. We’re looking forward to running a successful operation and exploring new business opportunities in order to maximise the value of ABP’s latest terminal investment.”

Photo: EMR’s Tilbury operation in action.