Multi-million pound scheme set to increase ro-ro capacity at Suffolk port as Brexit looms
- Credit: Archant
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.
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.
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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.
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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.”