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Multi-million pound scheme set to increase ro-ro capacity at Suffolk port as Brexit looms

PUBLISHED: 12:07 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:40 21 January 2019

The Port of Felixstowe and Danish ferry operator DFDS have agreed to increase roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) capacity at the port  Picture: PORT OF FELIXSTOWE

The Port of Felixstowe and Danish ferry operator DFDS have agreed to increase roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) capacity at the port Picture: PORT OF FELIXSTOWE

Port of Felixstowe

Roll-on/roll-off capacity at the Port of Felixstowe is set to be boosted by more than 40% as shippers seek to minimise risks from Brexit.

The Port of Felixstowe and Danish ferry operator DFDS have agreed to increase roll-on/roll-off (ro/ro) capacity at the UK port by over 40% through a multi-million pound investment in a new linkspan, tractor units and additional trailer parking facilities.

There has been a roll-on/roll-off operation, enabling lorries carrying containers to take goods to and from the continent via a freight ferry service, at the port for more than 50 years, and there are currently 16 sailings a week each way between Port of Felixstowe and Vlaardingen in the Netherlands.

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Port chief executive Clemence Cheng, who is also executive director of its owner, Hutchison Ports, pointed out that as well as being the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe was also a key gateway for roll-on/roll-off trade with Europe.

“Demand on DFDS’s service to Rotterdam has been growing steadily for a number of years and we are delighted to have agreed a new contract with them to secure the service at Felixstowe for another 15 years,” he said.

The new contract includes a “significant investment” by Hutchison Ports in replacing one of the port’s existing ro/ro bridges with a modern floating linkspan capable of handling the latest generation of ro/ro vessels.

The upgrade also involves creating more than 300 additional trailer spaces for unaccompanied ro/ro traffic.

Niels Smedegaard, chief executive and president of DFDS, said: “We are very happy to continue our excellent relation with the Port of Felixstowe and their ro/ro staff.

“We are very excited about this investment which allows us to further enhance the high level of customer service that is expected by our clients. It is also a further step in our striving to provide necessary capacity to continue supporting our customers’ trade and business, even in a possible post-Brexit world.”

Mr Cheng said: “This investment is driven by our long-term confidence in the ro/ro route between Felixstowe and Rotterdam. We are seeing increasing interest in both ro/ro and short sea container connections at all three of our UK ports as shippers seek to minimise risks to their supply chains resulting from Brexit.”

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