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Teesport rides a box boom 20 Containers at Teesport have

surged by 27% and are on target to hit the 300,000teu mark this year – compared with 250,000teu the year before, says PD Ports’ group CEO David Robinson. “The Baltic trades are doing well, and since it transferred here from Hull, MacAndrews has doubled its service. And our port-centric work is steady; we’ve expanded our relationships with Asda and Tesco and the Clipper Logistics site is now fully operational.” Moreover, PD Ports now has “a growing relationship” with Argos at nearby Darlington. Another factor that has

boosted box trade has been the decision by local chemical manufacturer Lotte’s - based at Wilton - to switch from liquid feedstock in bulk tanker ships to dry chemical feedstock, which lends itself much better to containers. The Korean-owned manufacturer’s output also goes in boxes. Another new regular

container service for Teesport is the A2B feeder operator, currently operating one sailing a week to Moerdijk in the Netherlands but with expansion imminent. But perhaps the biggest

boost to Teesport’s intermodal prospects is the decision by

Freightliner to move its Teesside terminal from an inland site at Wilton to Teesport itself. The


as production gears up. The trains will mostly be used

system was

originally envisaged in the 1960s more as a domestic intermodal network than

one feeding

containers to and from ports; many terminals,

even those

serving port cities, were built at inland locations. This factor was also making hard for Freightliner to win business in the face of competition of the growing number

of shortsea feeder

services in and out of Teesport itself. PD Ports however began work

on a new, £3 million open access rail terminal in July and once complete it will handle services from Teesport to Felixstowe and Southampton – but further new routes to Scotland, the Midlands and the North West are expected to follow in line with market demand. Full gauge clearance for 9’ 6” containers on the route from Teesport to Scotland and to the south is expected to be complete by November. This will open up a whole range of possibilities for inland links, especially for the Baltic trades, as well as port centric customers says Robinson. Creation of the new rail

terminal is a comparatively simple matter, he adds; the track

to replace the ageing diesel high speed trains on Britain’s intercity network but there could in time also be exports of completed carriages to other countries. Teesport does have long term

is already in place and the main investment will be building concrete hardstanding between the new terminal and the existing No. 2 container terminal. Initially, at least, the rail terminal will be fed by reachstackers and similar equipment. Teesport’s new terminal isn’t

the only recent rail development in the area. Private operator AV Dawson has also opened a rail facility, although Robinson believes it will not compete directly with Teesports’, as it is geared more to bulk traffic. Freight ro ro business at likewise doing

Teesport is

well; in fact, the three times a week services to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam

move a

significant number of containers themselves and actually boost Teesport’s total box traffic to around 450,000teu a year (in

addition to the freight moved in wheeled road trailers). The Bor Song used on the P&O service is in fact the largest freight ro ro ship on the North Sea. The service is currently pretty full, says Robinson, although any increase or modifications to the route will probably have to wait until the new Marpol sulphur emission rules have been played out, he adds. PD Ports has also taken the,

so far, unique step, of integrating its ro ro operation into its Navis container management system. Navis is the industry standard but so far it has only been used in purely container operations, he says. “It makes better use of available space and while it’s not the cheapest such package, it is among the most sophisticated. It helps us react more quickly to events and gives us much more

High Tide – nurturing the logistics experts of the future

Teesside youngsters will benefit from the second annual scheme to help prepare them for the world of work over the summer holidays. Launched in 2013, the High

Tide Summer Scheme offers 16- and 17-year-olds the opportunity to undertake two weeks of work experience with different businesses in and around Teesport. This year the scheme has doubled in size, with 32 young people on placements with 18 different employers. High Tide chairman and boss

of Middlesbrough-based Casper Shipping, Kevin Shakesheff, said: “We’re really pleased that the success of last year’s programme has not only meant that the number of students applying has risen significantly, but that more businesses have stepped forward to support it. We know that this

kind of programme can really boost young people’s chances of future employment, and by providing them with a structured experience alongside other young people from across the area, we believe that what we are offering is quite unique.” Four of the youngsters had the

chance to travel on a working container ship to St Petersburg courtesy of Containerships Oy, spending 11 days en route to Russia’s second city and back, via Rotterdam, Helsinki and Riga. Another trip takes place in

October allowing youngsters to view local logistics facilities, the Rotterdam ferry followed by Europort, Europe’s largest seaport. Other students on the

programme will be working with employers such as Wilton Engineering, LV Shipping, PD Ports, Recyc-Oil, AV Dawson

and Bulkhaul, gaining during a first

hand insight into two different businesses


placements. In September, students who

have successfully completed the Scheme will come together for a special ‘graduation’ event at Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium to celebrate their success. PD Ports

group CEO David

Robinson told FBJ that funding from two major investors had allowed the scheme to be scaled up and that it was “making a notable difference to the opportunities available to young people in the region. High Tide offers top drawer work experience.” Quite a number of High Tide

trainees have gone on to obtain apprenticeships or employment in the industry, either directly

with PD Ports or in related industries; others have gone on to university and one has become a hydrographic apprentice. David Robinson adds: “We’re upping our game with schools and teachers now. People are aware of the industry locally, but not necessarily of its scale; we are in fact one of the biggest employers in the region.” High Tide is all about raising

the profile of the ports and logistics industry throughout Teesside, making youngsters and educators aware of the sheer scale and depth of the industry and to prevent talent from leaking away from the region. There are, aſter all, 100 different job types at PD Ports alone, ranging from crane drivers to IT specialists or marine engineers. As David Robinson says, “this is as much about our future as it is theirs.”

flexibility with available land

– particularly as peaks in the container traffic don’t necessarily happen at the same time as ro ro.” There are plenty of prospects

for increased business in all facets of Teesport’s activity, Robinson continues. “PD Ports continues to develop its portcentric model and is providing a range of services to a customer base that operates approximately 4m sq ſt either on port or within the Teesside area.” Hitachi has recently started

work on building a new factory to build passenger railway trains at nearby Newton Aycliffe and Teesport is a candidate for the import of the bodyshells from Japan, most likely on vehicle- carrying ro ro ships, although it is in competition with Tyne for this trade. There could also be containerloads of components

plans for a deepsea container berth but for the moment its strategy is develop its existing business rather than chase new trades. While the harbour revision order for the deepsea berth does not run out until 2018 and all planning permission is still in situ, for the time being the port will concentrate on adding new RTGs and, if necessary, deepening existing berths, although there is currently plenty of scope for container ship size to increase before the latter becomes necessary. Robinson concludes: “At

the moment, we’re naturally progressing our

business as

opposed to looking for a step change. But if our current feeders or Baltic ships grow from their current

2-3,000teu we have

the capability of increasing our faculties at a reasonable cost. “For the moment, we will

be seeing some of our biggest investments for quite some time – this year is shaping up to be a very good one.”

Change of scenery

The port of Tyne landscape changed on 31 July when IHC Engineering Business’s 45 metre high pipe-lay tower leſt the Port of Tyne destined for Rotterdam aboard the Meri heavy load vessel. The tower was constructed by IHC EB at the port over seven months.

Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal


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