Southampton ABP

ABP announces £50m investment in the port of Southampton

In September Associated British Ports (ABP) unveiled it plans to invest £50m in the port of Southampton on the English south coast. The major investment comes after the port has already benefitted from £32m in ABP investment over the past five years and will support the port’s continued growth over two phases.

ABP said that Southampton is the UK’s biggest port for vehicle handling, and that the expansion of its vehicle handling facilities will increase the port’s export capacity. In 2015 in excess of 900,000 vehicles passed through the port, of which 520,000 were for export.

James Cooper, chief executive of ABP said: “Southampton is the UK’s number one port for exports, handling exports worth some £40bn and it is the UK’s number one for vehicle exports.The port is a critical part of the supply chain for the British automotive industry, providing essential access to global markets.Our investment will build on this critical role and support our customers’ drive to continue to grow their exports well into the future.”

The first phase of £25m investment will see two new vehicle handling facilities built with a combined capacity of 7,600 vehicles to be stored en route from UK manufacturers for export worldwide.

An additional two facilities will be developed during the second phase of investment – a further £25m. In total the funding from ABP is expected to increase Southampton’s capacity by 15,000 vehicle spaces; bringing the total number of vehicle handling facilities in the port to nine and the total number of vehicles it can accommodate to 55,000.

The move has been welcomed by international trade secretary Liam Fox. Mr Fox said: “This investment is positive news not just for Southampton, but for our world-class automotive industry as a whole. Southampton is a key route for British brands to access international markets and this investment will allow exporters to take advantage of the global demand for British-made vehicles.”

Hanjin

Shockwaves across global trade networks as Hanjin Shipping collapses

Hanjin Shipping, the seventh-largest container shipment firm in the world collapsed in late August after its creditors stopped providing funding and it was forced to request court receivership.

Over $14bn in cargo was left stranded at sea, and shocked global trade networks were faced with unprecedented disruption. Container ships in transit at the time the news broke were forced to remain at sea for up to a week to avoid cargo being seized at the docks by creditors.

While some ships were seized, ports all over the world were forced to deny service to Hanjin ships because agents refused to unload cargo because they feared they would not be paid. The company had no option but to pay for unloading, which has continued into October.

Cho Yang-ho, the chairman of its parent company, Hanjin Group told a court hearing in early October that the Korean firm had reached the point at which it was no longer able compete sustainably against its global competitors in receipt of financial support from their governments.

He said: “What pains me the most is that due to the court receivership many ship crews were in the middle of international waters like orphans. I am very sorry and pained to have created a logistics crisis, but we did everything we could.”

The firm is currently compiling a plan for rehabilitation which it is expected to submit to a Seoul court before the end of the year. However, industry experts anticipate that in spite of its best efforts, the carrier will be liquidated in what will be the largest bankruptcy in the industry’s history.