Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Europe's Latest Deep Water Port Welcomed by More Than Container Shipping Interests

From Construction to Insurance - London's Gateway Impacts the UK's Freight and Logistics Industry and Beyond
Shipping News Feature

UK – With much pomp and ceremony last week we saw the official commencement of work at Europe’s newest deep water port with the first official arrival at DP World’s London Gateway, when the 4,500 TEU container ship, MOL Caledon, sailed up the Thames to offload a tranche of inward bound boxes. The arrival, actually not the very first ship which used the facilities after the emergency offload of the ZIM Rotterdam in September, was greeted by more than the importers of the goods bound from South Africa as the development continues to make work for thousands of construction workers, but also touches other interests peripheral to the supply chain.

Specialist freight transport and cargo handling insurer, TT Club provides the liability cover for the UK’s newest container terminal and welcomed the start of what will surely be a rapidly growing development. Although only the first berth at the riverside dock is open at present, plans to complete the 2,700 metres of quayside are well under way and eventually the site will boast 24 of the gigantic gantry cranes, each weighing in at over 1,800 tonnes with a hinterland which is due to contain the largest logistics park in Europe. TT Club CEO, Charles Fenton, commented:

“TT Club is proud to be associated with yet another milestone in the ever-expanding container handling sector. We have worked with DP World throughout its network of global terminals and are grateful to them for the opportunity to continue our partnership. London Gateway promises to be a very significant addition to the UK’s transport infrastructure located as it is, at the heart of the country’s largest consumer market.”

TT Club has a forty-five year history of providing liability and asset insurance for the ports and terminals of the world, both for container handling and other types of cargo. By crafting the necessary policy wordings and advising on safety and security matters, the Club has been an active participant in the staggering growth in container port throughput over nearly half a century. The Club says it is therefore well-placed to underwrite the risk presented by a ground-breaking new facility such as London Gateway, which is designed with an operation as the al capacity of 3.5 million TEU.

On the quayside as the Caledon docked were not only MOL UK Managing Director Adrian Jones to witness his company's vessel safely moor up but David Mawer, the MD of JF Hillebrand, headquartered in Mainz but whose UK head offices lie adjacent to the new port in Thurrock. One of the world’s leading providers of logistics for beverages, a container of wine was the first box to officially be discharged and the following day formed part of one of two JF Hillebrand ‘Wine Trains’ which transported the containers by rail to Daventry and Bristol.

Rail services, which will play the most significant role in clearing boxes from the new port, are to be the method of choice for the majority of JF Hillebrand’s deliveries from London Gateway and provide significantly improved service reliability compared to road, minimising the impact on the local environment and avoiding congestion to the already heavily utilised UK road network. David Mawer observed:

“We are delighted that DP World’s London Gateway is now operational. It is important for the UK economy and our customers to have a lean, flexible and integrated supply chain, with capacity to support future growth and the trend in global shipping towards larger vessels. Our customers depend on fast, reliable and flexible transit times and so we need to ensure the UK remains attractive to Shipping Lines as a direct call. This requires a flexible and responsive Port network able to accommodate their Shipping Line and landside customers. London Gateway meets all these requirements and we look forward to working with the Port to further enhance the service we provide to our customers.”

Photo: MOL Caledon discharges at the new port.