Monday, February 1, 2016

Logistics Group Helps Revive Fortunes of Neglected RoRo Port

New Licence and Investment Sees Auto Contract Agreed
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – In a tangible effort to revive the fortunes of the Kentish Port of Ramsgate both Thanet District Council and logistics group Gefco say they have made sizeable investments to reinvigorate facilities there. The result is a new partnership which sees the two proceed with a plan to import and store cars at the port prior to onward distribution around the UK. Ramsgate has been tarnished by the row over live animal exports in the past, a trade currently suspended from there but continuing through nearby Dover.

The new contract saw the first shipment of 1,000 cars arrive on January 19 having shipped from Belgium. Gefco UK has put in place storage systems and physical security for the port operation while Thanet District Council have been conducting dredging operations in the area to develop and make the port operational for use. The new Council issued licence is set to revive the port as a RoRo car operation having lain under used since 2013. Ramsgate first began importing vehicles through the old harbour in the 1960’s, and Gefco imports and distributes 500,000 vehicles annually through UK ports for several major vehicle manufacturers.

Gefco has built its business principally on automotive supply chain related matters and employs over 11,500 people globally. John Stocker, Finished Vehicle Logistics Director, Gefco UK commented on this latest development, saying:

“I am pleased to confirm the first shipment of 1,000 new vehicles into the Port of Ramsgate. The vessel sailed from Zeebrugge, Belgium and is the first in a new shipping schedule between these ports. This new service is a result of several months of planning and co-operation between Gefco UK and Thanet District Council and we look forward to a continuing mutually beneficial partnership.”

For its part Thanet Council has expressed delight at the sight of one of the ports RoRo berths being utilised again for car importation. Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise Services, Cllr Hunter Stummer-Schmertzing, said:

“It’s fantastic to see another business operating out of the Port of Ramsgate. This new operation uses the Port’s existing infrastructure and a portion of the freight and car lanes, all of which are ready to accommodate this new business, without compromising additional new ferry opportunities. This is a great message that the Port of Ramsgate is open and ready to do business and that the industry is recognising the potential opportunities that our facilities have to offer.”

Photo: The first tranche of cars arrives. Courtesy of Thanet District Council.