ABP Humber Ports has pulled off a coup. For the first time Hull will be a platform for UK deepsea imports and exports
The agreement between ABP and Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping line, establishes Hull as a trading link to the Far East and beyond.
The first call is due on 19th January and calls will be made on a weekly basis. Around 240 boxes per week are expected to be handled, equivalent to 12,000 containers per year.
The feeder service will connect Hull to the Far East through transhipment in Rotterdam.
A spokewoman for ABP Humber Ports said: “This new service offers customers the opportunity to utilise the Port of Hull as an alternative to other UK deep sea ports."
Most likely, the boxes moved over Hull will be ones that would othwerwise be shipped direct over Felixstowe. It is not clear what underlies Maersk’s thinking. The need for uncongested access could have been highlighted by the problems arising from Felixstowe’s botched new TOS roll-out in early summer, but in addition, driver shortage issues are biting in all sectors of the UK trucking industry, irrespective of the delays faced by hauliers at Felixstowe.
Feedering north British o/d traffic over Hull greatly shortens trucking distances and the port, where ABP has extended capacity including two new Liebherr STS gantry cranes, can provide a fast turnaround. There will be fewer container trucks on the congested A14 that connects Felixstowe to the M1.
“We believe that the Humber Container Terminals - Hull and Immingham - are now the premier container destinations in the North of England, offering an unrivalled service," said Simon Bird, ABP Humber Director. "We have recently invested £50M into these terminals including our two £10.5M gantry cranes at the Hull Container Terminal.
“We’re proud to welcome the world’s largest container shipping line, Maersk and we look forward to strengthening our partnership and building further trade links.
Container capacity at Hull Container Terminal has been doubled to 240,000 containers per year. This year it has gone from five sailings per week to a maximum of 16 sailings per week, with Samskip stepping up its calls to 11 per week and IMotion providing three calls per week.
Asbjorn Kops, Maersk’s Product Manager for UK & Ireland, said: “At Maersk, we continuously work on improving our local product offering, ensuring that our portfolio meets the expectations of our customers and helps them grow their business. Our short-sea connections complement our ocean services and connect our customers with markets around the world.”