Thursday, August 23, 2012

RoRo Freight Ferry Service Axed as Container and Trailer Shipping Levels Contract

As Cobelfret Withdraw from One Route Stena Line Reduces Service on Another
Shipping News Feature

UK - NETHERLANDS - Last Friday saw the final freight ferry service between Ipswich and Rotterdam. The RoRo service operated by CLdN, part of the logistics group Cobelfret decided to axe the service, blaming the current economic situation, just five months after the second of two new purpose-built vessel was allocated to the route. The end of this service means the loss of around twenty jobs, including drivers plus managerial and supervisory staff who now face redundancy.

The route was operated by two 152 metre vessels, mv Capucine and mv Severine, which were designed specifically for the Port of Ipswich and were ordered from the Kyokuyo shipyard in Japan each with the capacity to carry up to 160 trailers and containers. To assist the manoeuvring and positioning of the vessels within the restraints of the 200 metre width of the River Orwell between the port’s West Bank and East Bank facilities, Port of Ipswich owners, Associated British Ports (ABP) invested nearly £500,000 in a swinging wire arrangement which they had hoped would increase the port capacity.

Following the decision by Cobelfret to end the service, competitors Stena Line Group has decided to replace its Stena Carrier and Stena Freighter on the Rotterdam-Harwich route with the smaller mv Capucine and mv Severine as of the beginning of September. Stena Line chartered the two freight vessels from Cobelfret on a five year contract. Pim de Lange, Stena Line area director for the business area North Sea, said:

“The market conditions for the Rotterdam-Harwich route have been very tough during the past few years, mainly due to a very competitive environment on the North Sea and the financial instability and recession throughout Europe. This has led to a low capacity utilisation of our two current vessels and a consequential poor financial development for the route.

“We need to improve efficiency and reduce our operational costs to be able to increase our competitiveness. With this solution we can accomplish that because we will have smaller and cheaper tonnage and, at the same time, we can carry the same volumes that we have today and deliver the same service to our customers.”

Photo: mv Severine pictured unloading recently.