Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Businesses boost North Sea Port to new record year with over 70 million tons of transshipped goods
For the second year in succession it was reported that North Sea Port had enjoyed a record year. This news was issued on 9 January. Our illustration here shows a very small example of the port’s real estate (www.northseaport.com ©)
Businesses in the port recorded transshipment of goods via seagoing vessel in the amount of 70.3 million tons: an increase of 5.5% over 2017. Growth took place in nearly all segments.
It is understood that in 2018, North Sea Port achieved the milestone of 70 million tons, compared to 66.6 million tons in the previous year. One year after its official opening as a fusion port, North Sea Port is maintaining its position as a true bulk port and specialist in general cargo.
Wet and dry bulk, general cargo and containers
Dry bulk accounts for nearly half of the goods transshipped by seagoing vessel at North Sea Port. This segment grew by 4.6% to 32.8 million tons. A strong construction market has resulted in more transshipment of sand, gravel and building materials. Transshipment of coal – mainly for the processing industry – showed a slight increase. Agricultural products are also on the rise.
Transshipment of wet bulk increased to 20.5 million tons (up 6.3%), largely thanks to strong growth in the chemical and petrochemical sector and the bio-diesel trade. Transshipment of conventional (general) cargo rose by 4.5% to a total of 11.8 million tons as a result of greater volumes in many different kinds of cargo. Demonstrating extremely strong growth, 61%, transshipment of containers via seagoing vessels totalled some 1.7 million tons. This is reportedly due to the attraction of new services and an increase in the number of refrigerated containers. It is reported that only RoRo trades saw a slight dip, decreasing by 3.4% to 3.5 million tons.
Inland shipping on the rise
Not only transshipment via seagoing vessel had a great year in 2018. Inland shipping enjoyed a record year of its own, here traffic increased by 2.5% to reach a total of 58 million tons.
With 70.3 million tons of goods transshipped via seagoing vessel and 58 million tons via inland shipping, North Sea Port achieved a total transshipment of 128.3 million tons in 2018 to which should be added 10 to 12 million tons transferred via pipeline.
Trans-Atlantic and European coastal shipping
North Sea Port focuses on European coastal shipping and the trans-Atlantic flow of goods. When maritime transshipment is divided by continent it is understood that Europe accounts for 61% of all activity. The shipping areas of South and North America represent 16% and 14% respectively. Africa receives 4%, Asia, 3% and, lastly, Oceania receives 2%. It is understood that this distribution is identical to that of 2017.
North Sea Port distributed 88 hectares of land for lease in 2018. The port comprises the 60 kilometres long cross-border area stretching from Vlissingen in The Netherlands to Ghent in Belgium.
Finally, it is reported that with the transshipment of goods growing in virtually all segments and another record year recorded, North Sea Port is entering 2019 with a cautiously optimistic attitude. While demand for commercial space in the port remains high as ever, the imminent Brexit and waning economic growth give reason for caution. In addition, and as expected, the growth of transshipment began to slow in mid-2018.
At its 2019 AGM held in the Faroe Islands in week ending 15 June representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations reviewed the priorities of the global shipowners’ association, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
Sadly, the ICS Annual General Meeting was overshadowed by the attacks against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the very serious threat this presents to the lives of seafarers and maritime trade.
Action on CO2 Reduction
ICS agreed a suite of actions in support of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to decarbonise international shipping in line with the United Nations 1.5 degree climate change goal.
Speaking from the Faroe Islands, ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson (illustrated) said: ‘It is imperative that IMO Member States adopt a new global regulation to mandate further short term CO2 reduction measures at the next session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in 2020. This should deliver further CO2 reductions by 2023 to help us meet the IMO target set for 2030. We will work with a broad coalition of governments to produce a comprehensive proposal that can be submitted to IMO in September this year.’
Pan-European multimodal service provider Samskip have indicated experience gained up to 31 March 2019 find it fully prepared for a North Sea container traffic surge, as attitudes harden in the run up to October’s revised UK Brexit deadline. (An illustration of Samskip’s traffic is provided here with thanks ©)
Europe’s largest multimodal transport group by freight volume reports that it expects UK exporters and importers to start switching away from trailers and towards containerisation, repeating a trend established in the run-up to the original deadline for Brexit of 31 March this year.
David Besseling, Samskip UK Trade Manager commented: ‘We saw a significant push in container volumes up to March 2019, especially into Hull, as decision-makers facing uncertainty opted for the reliability and proven procedures of container shipping. Concerns over supply chain security are fast re-emerging.’
Besseling reflected that stockpiling contributed to the earlier traffic surge, but added that the experience also confirmed robustness in new Hull-Ghent and Hull-Amsterdam links established by Samskip at the end of 2018. The services add to existing high-frequency connections between Rotterdam, Tilbury, Hull and Grangemouth.