Alternative capacity could be provided by short-sea container services between the UK and EU to alleviate possible congestion at the Port of Dover post-Brexit.
The Port of Dover is the cross-channel port situated in Dover, Kent, south-east England. It is the nearest English port to France, at just 34 kilometres (21 miles) away.
According to a new study by global shipping consultancy Drewry the Port of Dover had the capacity to cope with moderate Brexit disruption.
The earlier study, validated by the Port of Dover, concluded that of the 2.5 million trailers going via Dover, around 20% (i.e. 500k trailers) could possibly shift to another mode of transport.
Using this ‘alternative mode’ assumption, Drewry sought to understand the current container services available at UK Ports, their connectivity with EU Ports and to examine what container shipping lines could do to accommodate additional volumes by understanding current service capacity levels and how easily additional capacity, if required, might be deployed.
“In this second phase of our short-sea analysis we have turned our attention to alternative capacity and congestion mitigation,” said Tim Power, head of Drewry Maritime Advisors. “We understood from the findings of our initial assessment that a proportion of trailer-based freight transiting Dover could be suitable for transportation and re-routing by container. We wanted to see whether and how this could be handled”.
“In assessing the practical viability of that alternative it became clear that container shipping line services not only have the capacity, options and flexibility to handle additional container volumes in the event of disruption to cross-Channel freight services but crucially, container terminals in the UK have the capacity to meet the additional throughput demands,” said Power.
Volumes that could be re-routed from Dover: Of the cargo in the 2.5 million trailers handled by Dover today, 20% could move to another mode of transport. This translates to around 250,000 units a year (in each direction), equivalent to around 10,000 TEU per week in each direction;
Alternative routes and modes: There are four ways that container shipping lines could cater for this demand: making use of spare capacity on existing services; increasing frequency on existing services; increasing vessel sizes on existing services; launching new services.