Shortsea Brexit solutions gathering pace

April 10, 2019 3:04 pm

With 6 million teu of spare UK container terminal capacity, there is ample capacity to cover 20% of Dover trailer traffic, offering shippers a wider choice of UK origins and destinations.

Post Brexit predictions suggest increased congestion at Dover and Eurotunnel, which might be alleviated by the use of short sea boxes, which would see cargo being transported in containers and handled at a wide choice of box terminals.

With savings of up to 50% available, the switch to shortsea containers could be very beneficial to some shippers and does offer benefits in addition to the cost savings.

Follow this link to start your Brexit Risk Profile to see if short-sea is the right choice for you

However, the switch to container boxes doesn’t come without its challenges and transit times can be up to three times longer.

There are three key issues that could impact this transition: port capacity, vessel capacity and availability of containers.

Concern over part capacity may be unfounded as analysts, Drewry, found that 5.9m teu of UK terminal capacity is not being utilised, which is more than enough to reduce trailer traffic in Dover.

Regarding vessel capacity, a large scale switch to short sea might allow carriers to achieve better utilisation, which is currently poor, due to the constant overcapacity of global liner trades.

There are currently 23 weekly box services between the UK and North Europe, 15 of which are feeder services and have plenty of capacity. In addition, deep sea services could be adapted to collect European imports, for example with a call at Rotterdam, dropping these European boxes at the next UK port.

Service enhancements could include the addition of weekly services, making use of spare capacity on current shortsea services, or increasing the overall capacity of the existing services.

Moreover, northern Europe imports more containers than it exports, and so any surplus containers could be reused to ship cargo from Europe to the UK.

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