Business, Freight News, Sea

Box lines could meet Brexit challenge, says Drewry

[ April 3, 2019   //   ]

A second study of the UK shipping industry after Brexit by consultants Drewry suggest that short-sea container services could provide an alternative to the port of Dover. They could have enough capacity to cope with “moderate” disruption, it says.

An earlier study, validated by the Port of Dover, concluded that of the 2.5 million trailers going via Dover, around 20% or 500,000 trailers could shift to another mode of transport.

Head of Drewry Maritime Advisors, Tim Power, explained: “In this second phase of our short-sea analysis we have turned our attention to alternative capacity and congestion mitigation. We understood from the findings of our initial assessment that a proportion of trailer-based freight transiting Dover could be suitable for transportation and re-routing by container. We wanted to see whether and how this could be handled”.

He added that container services not only have the capacity, options and flexibility to handle additional container volumes in the event of disruption to cross-Channel freight services but crucially, container terminals in the UK have the capacity to meet the additional throughput demands.

Container shipping lines could use spare capacity on existing services, increase frequency of existing services, increase vessel sizes or launch new services.

Drewry calculates that 11 container ports in the UK have 5.9m teu a year of spare capacity, most of which is in southeast England close to Dover but also in northern England. This would be sufficient to handle this additional volume and provides wide geographical coverage;

There are sufficient container vessels in the market today – feeder size vessels represent over half of the total fleet – and there is a very liquid charter market.

As North Europe, in general, imports more full containers than it exports, surplus containers on the Continent could be used for exports to the UK. After unpacking, these containers could be moved to demand locations in Asia on deep-sea services.