Monday, November 23, 2015

RoRo Freight and Container Ferry Trebles Turnover in Eight Years

P&O Thames River Route to the Continent is a Success
Shipping News Feature
UK – The River Thames is a far way from its position as the world’s premier port, a status it held for some considerable time in days gone (well) by. The advent of containerisation took trade to Liverpool, Southampton and Felixstowe and elsewhere, but the development of DP World’s London Gateway deep water port is not the only sign that things along the capital’s waterway are undergoing a tangible recovery, as figures just released by P&O for its RoRo and container freight ferry service from its Tilbury base demonstrate.

Tilbury itself has also been showing signs of recovery when it comes to box freight but P&O Ferries has announced it today carried its millionth unit of freight out of the port of Tilbury, after an increase in volumes of almost 300% since it launched the North Sea route to the continent eight years ago. The first full year of operation in 2008 saw 70,000 units make the crossing, eclipsed by the anticipated total of 210,000 units which will travel between Tilbury and Zeebrugge in 2015. Helen Deeble, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said:

"This landmark illustrates the growing importance of our Tilbury to Zeebrugge route as a vital link in UK PLC's supply chain. Tilbury is the closest sea port to the capital and our 24 sailings a week connect it directly to our Zeebrugge hub. Volumes have steadily increased in every one of the eight years in which we have operated the route and we are now close to our maximum capacity.

"The key to the route's success is that exporters of consumables such as paper, steel, food, detergents and machinery want to get their products as close to London as possible. We ship cars between Europe and Britain, with 35,000 units from one manufacturer this year alone. And we have also seen a significant increase in hazardous cargoes, with customers who make regular shipments attracted by a freight-only route."

P&O Ferries is a leading pan-European ferry operator, sailing on nine major routes between Britain, France, Ireland, Holland and Belgium. The company operates 20 vessels which carry more than 10 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and two million freight units every year and the two ships, the Norstream and the Norsky, which the company runs on the Tilbury to Zeebrugge route are ideally suited for the Thames, with the capacity to double-stack containers and also equipped with cabins for freight drivers.

Today's news follows P&O Ferries' strong performance on the English Channel in Q3 when it carried its highest ever volume of freight between Dover and Calais, a total of 367,000 units which represents a 30% year-on-year increase.

Photo:Norsky under way.