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global port

Global container port demand rising

Drewry’s latest five-year global container port demand forecast is 4.3% per annum, up from last year.

The maritime consultancy made the announcement in its summary of the key trends and developments in the global container port and terminal industry.

Projected port capacity expansion is 2.7% per annum, so average utilisation levels will rise, said Drewry.

Neil Davidson, senior analyst ports and terminals at Drewry, pointed out, however, that there is a strong focus on optimisation of existing facilities as opposed to building new ones and that terminal operators are focusing on cost control and efficiency to maintain project margins.

Drewry’s latest assessment of port throughput indices showed that the global index fell in September 2017 but was 10 points up on September 2016 and 12 points up on 2015.

Mr Davidson said that the growth rate in 2017 showed a sustained upward trend.

North America and Latin America showed the highest annual increases, 12.6 and 11.1 respectively, while Europe had the lowest increase at 4.4%.

The top five global terminal operators were calculated as being PSA International, Hutchinson Ports, DP World, APM Terminals and China Cosco Shipping.

According to BIMCO, the worlds largest international shipping association, container shipping has shown strong growth forecasts supported by equal demand so far this year, 

Source: Port Strategy / Port Technology

gridlock customs

Gridlock for British ports if additional customs checks approved

As government negotiations to facilitate Britain’s exit from the European Union gather pace, the UK Chamber of Shipping says the EU is ignoring the risk Brexit could bring to European ports. According to one group of MPs the increase would be five fold and confidence in border arrangements post Brexit is alarmingly low. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have told the Treasury select committee that it estimates a customs declaration rise from 60million a year to over 300million a year after the UK leaves the EU.

Chief executive of the chamber, Guy Platten, said: “The EU sells £240bn of goods to the UK each year, most of which travels through ports. So the negative impact of a so-called hard Brexit on ports such as Dover will be felt just as severely if not more so by European ports. I don’t think the EU has fully grasped this yet.”

The chamber said the proposed return of border controls would lead to increased bureaucracy, “guaranteed” lorry gridlock and threats to the prosperity of both EU member states and the UK. Platten continued: “Much of the attention on the impact of leaving the customs union has been on UK ports, but major EU ports such as Calais, Zeebrugge and Dublin would find themselves equally as vulnerable. The UK government understands the importance of sorting this out around the negotiating table, but we are yet to see evidence that the EU negotiators fully understand their own vulnerability.”

Dover has no room to expand from its 2.6 million lorries a year, and Eurotunnel, which caters for 1.6 million lorries a year faces the same issue. John Keefe, its spokesman, said: “On one side of Eurotunnel we have an area of outstanding beauty, so you can’t build to the left, and on the right we have the motorway; then you have to look at moving up, down, or back along the motorway.” Earlier this year, senior freight industry leaders including Eurotunnel said the introduction of customs checks at Dover after Brexit could cause gridlock in south-east England, with lorries queueing in Kent for up to 30 miles (48km) to get across the Channel.

In the summer of 2015, a French ferry workers strike led to more than 7,000 trucks backed up the motorway almost as far as Maidstone. With as many as 16,000 trucks a day using Dover, the potential for a repeat of that episode alarms business. An emergency traffic management strategy at the time, called Operation Stack, is estimated to have cost the Kent economy £1.5m a day, with parts of the M2 turned into a vast lorry park.

Concerns that this could be the case again seem to be well founded, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a hard and fast plan for the UKs customs situation. With under two years to go until this would have to come into force, decisions need to made fast.

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.”