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Friday, 13 September 2013

Tilbury confident of survival as British container port war intensifies 
Tilbury confident of survival as British container port war intensifies

LONDON is at the centre of a fierce battle between the ports that serve the southeast of England leaving industry experts to wonder if all will survive the turmoil in the scramble for greater market share.
Friday, 13.Sep.2013, 00:05 (GMT+3)


Tilbury confident of survival as British container port war intensifies 

LONDON is at the centre of a fierce battle between the ports that serve the southeast of England leaving industry experts to wonder if all will survive the turmoil in the scramble for greater market share.

The formation of the P3 fleet alliance between Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM has left Felixstowe, Southampton and London Gateway all vying for customers.

Two London are ports are also caught up in the battle Tilbury, which owns London Container Port, and Hutchison's Thamesport.

Thamesport has already lost some deepsea customers, with Evergreen moving to Hutchison owned Felixstowe, and a joint Hapag-Lloyd/OOCL Transatlantic service switching to Southampton. Shortsea operators BG Freight Line and MacAndrews, a subsidiary of CMA CGM, recently moved most of its services from Tilbury to Thamesport.

But Tilbury, Britain's oldest box port, is confident it has the cargo mix and business strategy to withstand the intense competitive pressures, and is telling the market that it does not expect to lose any business as a result of service quality or price.

"We will not let Tilbury wither on the vine," said Forth Ports chief operating officer Perry Glading. Forth Ports bought full control of Tilbury Container Services in January 2012, buying out DP World and ABP, renaming the facility London Container Terminal.

Forth Ports said Tilbury can defend its position in the north-south and intra-Europe container trades. The port, on the north banks of the Thames, is not competing for the services that are operated with ships of 14,000 TEU or more on principally the Asia-Europe trades, but is able to handle vessels of up to 10,500 TEU.

Nevertheless, Mr Glading dismisses suggestions that Tilbury is not in the same market as London Gateway or Felixstowe. "That's nonsense," he says. With the exception of Asia-Europe business, Tilbury is competing with both ports, he insists.

Tilbury's strength lies in its diversity, with containers accounting for only half of the total throughput in tonnage terms. However, containers are an important part of the package, with volumes up 12 per cent in 2012 to 900,000 TEU for customers such as Hamburg Sud, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGM, Maersk Line and Samskip. That is considerably below annual capacity of around 1.4 million TEU.

Tilbury is continuing to invest in upgrades to its container facilities, spending GBP30 million (US$47 million) so far this year on new straddle carriers, ship-to-shore cranes and IT.


Source: Sea News, Turkey.

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