Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Freight Option Between UK and Scandinavia as RoRo Ferry Service Starts

North Sea RoRo Aims at Three Crossings Each Way Weekly
Shipping News Feature

UK – SWEDEN – SCANDINAVIA – Next week will witness the inception of a brand new Roll On Roll Off ferry service between Killingholme and Gothenburg, the second addition for the Immingham region this month after DFDS Seaways added an extra freight only vessel to the Rotterdam service. The new service will offer three return crossings weekly and has been started by North Sea RoRo, a company so new at the time of writing their website is not yet functional, and backed by freight forwarding group NTEX.

The first sailing is scheduled for the 24th January and will challenge the DFDS dominance in that market sector, no easy task after the company collected the award for World’s Leading Ferry Operator at the World Travel Awards in Qatar last week. North Sea RoRo has been started by CEO Mårten Carlquist with the direct assistance of NTEX, possibly the leading player in the UK – Swedish trailer market with around 250 RoRo movements in each direction weekly.

Stevedoring requirements in the UK will be undertaken by C.RO Ports at Killingholme where Port Manager Hugh Gates says he is ready for the new service and in Gothenburg by Logent. The service begins with two twin sister ships each capable of carrying 165 trailers and initially NTEX will be the majority shareholder but is about to significantly reduce its ownership to ensure the new company's independence according to Joakim von Heijne of Avantus Corporate Finance which advised on the company’s formation.

NTEX are clearly enthused by the prospect of being instrumental in opening up competition and Steve Havercroft, managing Director of NTEX in the UK is under no illusions about the high standards set by the competition. Colleague Thomas Ström, CEO of NTEX, commented on the move:

“This is an important route for Swedish trade. To date there has been only one RoRo service between Sweden and England. Our conclusion, after having been able to follow the preparatory work and studied the analysis made for North Sea RoRo, is that the shipping company has very good potential to provide both increased competition in transport to and from England and increased dynamics in the market. Today we have a traffic volume on the route corresponding to 150 million SEK annually. It is natural for us to enlist the new shipping company so that the market can be developed further.”

Mårten Carlquist, CEO of North Sea RoRo stressed that the support from NTEX was vital to the project but enabled the company to offer a genuine alternative to the status quo saying:

“We are happy to now be able to offer a competitive alternative to the existing services, at the same time as the capacity and frequency on the route is significantly expanded. The project has been met with great interest and has built confidence among carriers and other stakeholders. We will have a high shipment volume on the route from the first day of service.”

The North Sea RoRo website should be fully functional soon but until then Mårten Carlquist can answer any enquiries direct either on +46 725 306884 or at Marten.Carlquist@northsearoro.com  

Photo: One of the twin ships on the new route MV Beachy Head courtesy of NTEX.