Thursday, August 13, 2015

Scottish Produce Assisted by Port Extension to Refrigerated Container Freight Capacity

Number of Extra Reefer Plugs More than Trebled
Shipping News Feature

UK – Forth Ports is to more than double its refrigerated container capacity at the Port of Grangemouth to support Scotland’s fresh produce import/export freight trade. A significant investment in extending the electricity supply infrastructure at Scotland's largest container port has enabled Forth Ports to increase the specialist power supply plugs from 126 to 432. Reefers require power immediately upon arrival at the port to keep their contents fresh until either being loaded onto vessels for export or collection by haulage firms for delivery across Scotland.

The installation of the increased power supply, which is planned for completion by October, is in response to market demand, principally from Scotland’s fresh food exporters, created by a significantly longer season for the shipping of such produce as potatoes, cheese, fish and seafood to markets across the world. The port operator hopes that the investment will maintain the Port of Grangemouth’s position as the largest reefer facility in Scotland. Stuart Wallace, Forth Ports’ Director of Scottish Operations, said:

“Scotland has a growing reputation right across the world for the quality of our fresh produce and that’s resulted in increasing demand for reefer capacity. That’s good for the Scottish economy and good for business and we’re committed to investing in support of this growth through increasing our reefer capacity at the Port of Grangemouth.”

The news follows the announcement in June of a major investment programme at the Port of Grangemouth to increase its capacity for storing both conventional containers and reefers and the commissioning of a feasibility study into deepening the shipping channel within the port to handle larger vessels. Mark Cornwell, Operations Manager UK & Ireland for Maersk Line, one of the principal shippers of fresh produce from Scotland, said:

“Shipments of temperature controlled products are a critical and growing part of our business in Scotland and this exciting development ensures that Grangemouth will be well placed to support demand growth in this segment. As a long term customer of both Forth Ports and the Port of Grangemouth we have seen how they have been able to understand and support both our needs and those of our customers and we look forward to collaborating further to encourage future growth in the Scottish economy.”

The Port of Grangemouth operates Scotland's largest container port and handles in excess of 155,000 containers per annum. Regular container services are now available from Grangemouth with frequent daily sailings to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe and Hamburg. Most of the major lines utilise these feeder services to link with mother container vessels plying between the world's major ports. Short sea box traffic is also carried on the weekly services for onward transportation to destinations in Europe and Scandinavia. An important base cargo for the container services is the carrying of Scotch whisky, but significant business includes chemicals in bulk containers, electronic goods, machinery and manufactured goods.