Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Container Shipping Terminal Set For Scotland After Ferry Withdrawal

Babcock Marine Likely to Win Big at Both Ends of the UK
Shipping News Feature

UK – After announcing they were to withdraw from the passenger service provision between Rosyth and Zeebrugge last week, DFDS said they were considering continuing the route as a RoRo freight only ferry service and would double the number of sailings for a trial period. Now it appears Babcock Marine is about to lodge plans with Fife Council next month to convert part of the Rosyth dockyard to an international container base, reportedly at a cost of around £85 million. Babcock took over the dockyard from the Navy in 1997, ten years before the group acquired the Devonport facility at Plymouth.

After the Government awarded the Trident nuclear submarine refits to Devonport, Rosyth struggled for business but in March Babcock were given extensions to their Royal Navy management contracts at both Devonport and on the River Clyde stretching to 2025, and increasing the groups turnover by some £2.5 billion at 2010 prices.

The revisions to the Navy order have meant that Babcock need to utilise Rosyth as its days as a Royal Naval facility are, to a greater extent, behind it, and a multimodal container terminal on the East coast, yet only around 80 miles from the Clyde as the crow flies, may provide the perfect answer simultaneously firming up DFDS’s intent to continue with its RoRo freight ferry plans and indeed widening the ports attractions to European container feeder services.

Photo: Aerial view of Rosyth Dockyard courtesy of the Royal Navy