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Issue 5 2015 - Freight Business Journal


King Cargo succeeds King Coal

Wales may be small, but it punches above its weight in international freight. Its ports, roads and railways are vital not just to the local economy, but to England’s too. The sector creates thousands of jobs directly and indirectly and pumps untold millions into the local economy – although not every Welsh politician realises this if road plans that could threaten the viability of the country’s largest general cargo port are anything to go by. More than anywhere else, Wales needs a joined-up transport policy.

It’s boom time for Stena again

South Wales firm helps get Djibouti flying again

South Wales-based aircraſt leasing company Cardiff Aviation is helping the small East African nation of Djibouti get its national airline off the ground. Cardiff Aviation, which is based at Cardiff Airport Aerospace Enterprise Zone (its chairman, Bruce Dickinson, is Iron Maiden’s front man) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Air Djibouti to create and

implement a national carrier. Initial operations will

concentrate on cargo and aircraſt have already been secured. Cardiff Aviation will implement and manage a European- standard airline operating company for Air Djibouti, source aircraſt, and provide operational management and maintenance for the new African national carrier.

Djibouti plans to open two

new airports and develop its transport and logistics infrastructure, including sea-air cargo services. Cardiff Aviation has parking

for up to 20 narrow-bodied aircraſt at its site at a former RAF

base, along with two

Boeing 747 training simulators and a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter simulator.

Stena Line’s business through the Welsh ports of Fishguard and Holyhead is doing really well, says head of freight for the UK and Ireland, Richard Horswill. “The Irish economy is booming again - and I can see it getting back to pre- recession levels,” he told FBJ. The recovery is very export-

led and is subject to currency exchange rates, but it is running at around 5% a year, he calculates. Together with rival operator, Irish Ferries, there is an unprecedented choice of services on the Holyhead/Dublin route and a fair few on the southern route between Fishguard and Rosslare. Horswill adds that

Stena is

looking to reorganise the port of Holyhead to improve handling and a new independently- operated truckstop has now opened just outside

the tow,

greatly improving facilities for drivers passing through. Road improvements on both sides of the Irish Sea have vastly improved journey times, he adds. In Holyhead, the new £6.5m

truckstop less than a mile from the port at the Parc Cybi estate is now open, offering space for 200 trucks plus fuelling, washing and all the driver creature-comforts. Branded Road King, it is a joint investment between developers Conygar and Fred Done, owner of the Betfred bookies chain. Holyhead, together with an existing site at Cannock in the West Midlands will form the basis of a nationwide chain of

truck stops. Stena’s manager in Holyhead,

Wyn Parry says that it gives an added incentive for truckers to come via Holyhead in preference to other ports. “We’re also hoping that the logistics park stage of the Parc Cybi estate will come soon,” he adds. Meanwhile, Holyhead has

renewed its Tugmaster fleet, for £1.6 million. There is a lot going on in the

area, and many projects could have important spin-offs for the freight and ports industry. One is the Wylfa B nuclear power station project on Anglesey, a vast £10 billion scheme that is close to getting the go-ahead – so close, in fact, that builders Hitachi have already started some of the groundwork. Although a jetty serving the site directly is planned, some non-bulk material could well move from Ireland via Holyhead, Parry suggests. Another potential bulk traffic

is biomass. A biomass burning power station is being planned by Ortheos on the site of the former Anglesey Aluminium works and is on the point of being given the go ahead. Fuel would be brought in to Holyhead port and moved directly to the power station by a mile-long conveyor – which at one point burrows underground – and which originally served the aluminium plant. Yet another scheme is wave energy specialist Minesto’s plan to

generate electricity in Holyhead harbour using submerged ‘kites’. Unlike wave barrage schemes, these would be deep enough not to interfere with shipping. Electrification of the North

Wales Coast main line could, if it is also accompanied by gauge-enhancement, revive rail-sea container traffic through Holyhead. In the days when the then Sealink operated its own lo lo ships from Holyhead to Dublin, Freightliner ran regular train services from Holyhead to Manchester, Birmingham and London. “The plans are being dusted down and I think there is an appetite at the Welsh Government to tackle big infrastructure projects again,” states Parry. A road scheme has also been

revived, namely the ‘Import Road’ plan to create a separate port exit directly onto the A55 dual carriageway. The Government had already done a lot of work on the scheme only for it to be put on the back burner due to the recession, but lately the plans have been refreshed and talks have started again. Holyhead’s port access could become a constraint on future growth. Business is beginning to boom

again in Holyhead; economists’ are now talking of the Celtic Phoenix as the successor to the late lamented Celtic Tiger and there certainly has been an upsurge in building material bound for Ireland.

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