Special treatment for shipping giant

ONE of the world's biggest shipping companies has signed a special deal with Britain's top port to ensure its ships get preferential treatment.

ONE of the world's biggest shipping companies has signed a special deal with Britain's top port to ensure its ships get preferential treatment.

The unusual deal is excellent news for the Port of Felixstowe, which ensures it keeps one of its main customers for the next decade at a time when rivals are trying to entice its clients away.

Maersk Line has signed the ten-year agreement with the port.

It is understood the deal will guarantee the shipping company berths for its ships at Trinity Terminal as soon as they arrive and available workers to deal with them, plus improvements to loading and unloading times on the quayside.

Maersk Line said the contract with Hutchison Ports, owners of Felixstowe, recognised the importance of joint co-operation in the shipping industry and reflected both companies' commitment to long-term planning in the UK.

Doug Bannister, managing director for Maersk Line UK and Ireland, said: “This new agreement with the Port of Felixstowe means we have capacity guaranteed, giving us greater control over the operation of our vessels.”

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The agreement will provide Maersk Line with reliable capacity for long-haul services for its regular vessel calls into Felixstowe and starts in August when Felixstowe takes delivery of its latest cranes.

Maersk has its own dedicated terminals at other ports and has previously asked Felixstowe for berth of its own.

The priority berthing arrangement is a compromise which will ensure its ships can be dealt with quickly at a time when Britain's container ports do not have enough capacity and delays are frequent.

The Danish line will continue to use other UK ports including Southampton, and will not be concentrating all UK calls at Felixstowe.

Head of corporate affairs at Felixstowe port, Paul Davey said the company did not comment on customers' contracts.

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