Forwarding, Freight News, Logistics, Road

Intermodal is making inroads into trucking market, says Samskip

[ December 5, 2018   //   ]

Pressures on the road haulage industry are already restricting road trailer operations and the effects could be exacerbated by Brexit, warns Andy Foulds, UK sales director at intermodal operator Samskip. Driver shortages are reducing the scope of over-the-road services in favour of services that use rail or short-sea shipping, he argues.
He says: “The viable reach of trailers is already shrinking and Brexit has accelerated the process on routes between the UK and Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic. A round trip between the Czech Republic and a UK destination occupies a driver for a week,” he said, adding that, in contrast, a driver picking up from Skamskip’s terminal in Hull “could make 6-7 deliveries to Manchester per week.
He also said there were post-Brexit risks associated with ferry-based trucking: “Lack of space at UK ferry ports introduces the prospect of delays and trucking queues returning as goods are customs cleared. This influences where drivers want to work at a time when there is already a Europe-wide shortage of drivers. It’s a real concern to our customers.”
Samskip has verified that its UK port operations have ample capacity to cope with longer clearance processes, he adds.
He says that two years of pre-Brexit investment in North Sea container shipping services is proving decisive in winning shippers away from cross-Channel ferry routes at a critical time for UK-EU relations.
Samskip recently scaled up sailings between Hull and Benelux ports to 11 per week, adding to its existing three calls per week into Tilbury and a weekly call into Grangemouth. Container volumes are growing quickly to fill the extra capacity.
It is also offering cross-dock services in Amsterdam to consolidate part-loads inside the port, bringing more flexibility to the multimodal option.