Monday, October 10, 2016

Cross Channel Companies See Increased Freight Levels On and Below the Water

Truck Shuttles and Northern RoRo Ferry Ports Both Witness Growth
Shipping News Feature
UK – FRANCE – BELGIUM – An upswing in trade for two cross Channel services recently as Eurotunnel reports numbers of freight transits still growing, with Truck Shuttle traffic increasing for the eleventh consecutive month compared to the corresponding period in previous years. Freight traffic saw an 11% increase compared to the month of September 2015, with 136,590 vehicles transported. For the period January-September 2016, there has been a 12% increase in traffic compared with the same period of 2015, and RoRo rival P&O Ferries also had good news.

After announcing in July that it is doubling freight capacity at Zeebrugge in order to meet increased structural demand from exporters to Britain, P&O Ferries services between Zeebrugge and Teesport have reported a 16% jump in freight units in the third quarter of the year compared with 2015. Between July and September, P&O Ferries' two ships on the route, the Bore Song and the Mistral, carried 22,499 units of freight. This figure represents an increase of more than 16% on the 19,349 units carried in the corresponding period last year. Nick Pank, P&O Ferries' Head of Sales Development on the North Sea, said:

"Our freight volumes between Zeebrugge and Teesport have risen encouragingly in the last twelve months as continental customers have become more aware of just how convenient a gateway this north-eastern port is for cities in the north-west such as Manchester and Liverpool. Coupled with the outstanding connectivity to Scotland, trains run daily from Teesport to the Scottish station of Mossend, it is not difficult to see why more exporters are choosing the route. Our two ships run a reliable and punctual service so customers can rest assured that their goods will be delivered in mainland Britain as soon as logistically possible. We have seen strong volumes of cars and also bulk tanks of wine and brandy."

The P&O expansion programme in Belgium comprises a fourth berth and significantly enhanced rail capacity and will give the ferry company the capacity to handle 700,000 units of freight every year in Zeebrugge compared with the current figure of 370,000. Teesport is located 96 miles from Manchester and freight units unloaded from the port can reach the north-western city in just over two hours whilst the 25,000 tonne Bore Song and the Mistral sail six times a week each on the 15 hour voyage between Zeebrugge and Teesport. In addition to Teesport, P&O Ferries also serves Tilbury and Hull from its Zeebrugge hub, which has existing rail links to countries across the continent including Romania, Italy and Poland.

Photo: Bore Song under way.