Bristol Port is gearing up for a boom in container shipments over the next 12 months.
New weekly services with the world’s largest container shipping lines, MSC and Maersk, combined with significant growth in major UK retailers warehousing goods in the region, have given cause for optimism and strengthened the Port’s appeal as a global gateway for lucrative export markets.
The Port estimates that more than 50 major businesses use around 16m sq ft of warehousing in Portbury, Avonmouth and within its immediate “hinterland” surrounds. It believes healthy competition created by two new container lines could translate into an increase in trade from those businesses.
A first landmark deal was announced last September with home retail giant, The Range, which had built a £100million distribution centre for southern England, in Avonmouth. It revealed it would work with Bristol Port to bring thousands of containers a year into Royal Portbury Dock.
Speaking as the deal was announced, Chairman Terence Mordaunt said:
“We are delighted to be a key part of The Range’s supply chain for their southern distribution centre based in Avonmouth. Bristol Port continues to benefit from its excellent links by sea, road and rail, and commitment to our partners in the local area and beyond.”
Then in December, along with Seago Lines, Maersk began a new feeder service calling from Europe’s largest port, Rotterdam, on a weekly basis to Royal Portbury Dock. It is operated using 1000 teu capacity vessels and has attracted interest from a wide range of trades, including forest products, alcohol and retail.
Most recently, MSC’s announcement of its enhanced UK west coast services sees two weekly calls into Bristol. Connecting the west coast with global trade routes via its transhipment hubs in Antwerp and Sines, complemented by additional ports in Portugal and the Northern Spanish ports of Bilbao and Gijon, the service enhancements reaffirms MSC’s commitment to Bristol and the south west region.
Commercial Director at MSC, Michael Collins, said
“We are very pleased to be introducing enhancements to our Bristol services which includes a new weekly call. Our new routings continue to allow us the crucial connections between Bristol and our deep-sea trading routes whilst improving trading opportunities with Portugal, Spain and wider Europe.”
James Stangroom, Commercial Manager, said
“Bristol Port is a global gateway for businesses in our immediate hinterland, and across the South West. The demand for feeder services coming into the Port is driven by both our own warehousing division but also the growth and development of warehousing in the Severnside region for major UK retailers and suppliers.”
Meanwhile, as the Department for International Trade actively encourages British-based businesses to expand horizons beyond Europe towards the United States and beyond, the Port is ready to capitalise on being the closest UK port to the east coast of America.
New figures, published in April, show that demand for world class British goods and services continues to grow around the globe. UK exports rose from £59.4 billion to £627.6 billion between March 2017 and the end of February 2018 – an increase of 10.4%.
Choosing Bristol Port has helped customers in reducing time, costs, carbon emissions and congestion in their supply chains. In providing marine services, stevedoring and quayside operations, the Port offers a complete package for both deep-sea and short-sea container operators, using its permanently employed workforce.
The new routes offer greater opportunities for customers that want to make global connections.