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.
As the UK Government launched the Freeports competitive bidding process towards the end of November DP World and Forth Ports advanced their bid for a Thames Freeport with London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury and Ford’s Dagenham engine plant at its heart.
Backed by the City Corporation of London, Essex Chamber of Commerce, London First, the Port of London Authority, the Thames Estuary Growth Board, Thurrock Council and the South East LEP, a Thames Freeport will, it is reported, drive innovation and transformational productivity gains by growing regional clusters in next generation logistics, automation, clean growth and advanced manufacturing. Vivid Economics is providing economic analysis in support of the bid, it is understood.
With a network of global and European shipping connections, excellent road, rail and river distribution networks, in addition to unrivalled first hand expertise in operating freeports, the Thurrock-based combined port and logistics cluster has the scale to grow the associated aerospace, automotive and many complex manufacturing and processing businesses along the Thames. This was the substance of a media release issued by Forth Ports and DP World.
The joint communiqué advised that a freeport will act as a job creation and high-quality development catalyst in an area of severe deprivation and economic need.
Both London Gateway and Tilbury ports have consented development land that is available for expansion now, with the aim to improve the opportunities for skilled jobs, bringing prosperity to the residents of Thurrock and beyond.
In the words of Alan Shaoul, DP World UK’s Chief Financial Officer: ‘Freeports will be an effective way of underpinning Britain’s economy post-Brexit and post-Covid by further enabling trade with the rest of the world and creating zones which will act as catalysts for commerce, creativity and prosperity.’
He added: ‘Freeports are part of our DNA. DP World began as a single free trade zone and free port in Dubai, Jebel Ali, while Tilbury was a freeport as recently as 2012 and we are confident we can replicate our recent success in the UK.’
Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer, Forth Ports: ‘The Port of Tilbury and London Gateway are already the most integrated logistics hubs in the UK, harnessing the best-in-class border technologies, with commanding market leading positions across a range of commodities.
‘A Thames Freeport would secure the next stage in the development of our sites, attracting further foreign direct investment, while acting as a testbed for new technologies, including autonomous and electric vehicles, leading to new skills opportunities across the Thames estuary development area.’
Our illustration kindly provided by Cleveland Containers / Rinson Chory @ Unsplash.
Crew changes are once more becoming difficult as much of the world locks down again following the emergence of several new and more transmissible variants of Covid-19, crew specialist Danica has warned.
With travel corridors being closed and new travel restrictions imposed, airlines are once again cancelling or reducing flights which poses a problem for crew transiting to vessels. It is understood from Danica that ports too, if they have reopened, are imposing greater restrictions.
Henrik Jensen (pictured), Managing Director of Danica Crewing Services, has warned: ‘I believe we may be heading for a new crew change crisis every bit as bad as last spring. Over the past six months crew changes have been possible in many cases, although they have been costly and complex. However, now we are seeing a range of new restrictions and barriers to crew travel while also facing some serious issues in relation to crew health risk factors. I can foresee this impacting heavily on crew changes for the next few months.’
Danica specialises in crew deployment and has been assisting a range of ship operators in order to achieve crew changes over the past year. As a result, the company is fully aware of the latest rules and restrictions and well-placed to notice how they are impacting crewing.
Jensen explained: ‘In response to the rapid increase in infections around the world, governments are imposing new or additional measures including travel restrictions. Although these measures are understandable in the circumstances, based on scientific evidence, and intended to provide protection for their populations, they also cause operational and logistical problems for crew changes.
RightShip and INTERCARGO announced on 21 January the launch of an important new quality standard for the dry bulk sector, DryBMS. The standard will be governed by a new NGO to be established later this year and will support the improvement of safety in the dry bulk segment.
Both RightShip and INTERCARGO have strongly and consistently advocated the need for significant improvements to dry bulk safety standards. In August 2020 both organisations combined their expertise to create a single framework for the whole industry.
Supported by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and BIMCO, DryBMS now exists as a simple set of best practices and key performance indicators and raises the bar on safety, environmental and operational excellence.
RightShip’s CEO Steen Lund says that he is confident that such a programme will be supported and adopted: ‘We are proud to launch DryBMS to the industry. The standard is a product of extensive collaboration with many stakeholders within the dry bulk sector.