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.
On 7 August the Unifeeder Group, the largest pan-European feeder and shortsea operator, announced from Aarhus, Denmark, the signing of agreed acquisition by DP World.
Under its new ownership, Unifeeder will benefit from DP World’s global scope, size and presence which in turn will enable Unifeeder’s brands to expand further and beyond present territories and products. Unifeeder will continue to operate on a fully independent, multi-user basis under its current existing management, and expects to see additional growth as a consequence of the transaction.
Commenting on the acquisition, Jesper Kristensen, CEO, said: ‘We are excited to join the DP World Group. Not only is there commonality with our business models but we also share the vision of serving our customers through removing inefficiencies and delivering sustainable shareholder value. We have enjoyed great success over the last five years under Nordic Capital’s ownership, and we believe that the Unifeeder brand within the DP World Group has the opportunity to accelerate growth, expand further and take the business to the next level.’
He continued: ‘…together with our new owner, we will strive to further improve our offering and further optimize the transshipment markets and the supply chains in Europe and beyond – to the benefit of our clients in particular and the cargo in general.’
Speaking of the acquisition, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, reflected: ‘We are delighted to add the Unifeeder brand under the DP World umbrella, which supports our strategy to grow in complementary sectors, strengthen our product offering and play a wider role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler.’
He added: ‘The ever-growing deployment of ultra-large container vessels has made high-quality connectivity from hub terminals crucial for our customers and Unifeeder is a best-in-class logistics provider in this space with a strong reputation in Europe. Our aim is to leverage on the in-house expertise of Unifeeder and to accelerate growth in this scalable platform to deliver value for all stakeholders. Unifeeder operates on the same common-user principle as DP World and adds to the Group’s strong value proposition to international shipping lines and end cargo owners in making the global supply chain more efficient and cost effective.’
Under its present ownership, led by leading private equity investor, Nordic Capital, Unifeeder has since 2013 grown to become the largest independent Pan-European feeder and shortsea operator with a well-connected network, spanning more than 100 ports in Northern and Western Europe, the Mediterranean (including North Africa and the Middle East) as well as in the Black Sea.
Unifeeder operates approximately 60 short-term chartered vessels, carrying around 3.2m TEUs and performing some 12,000 port calls annually.
The company serves two distinct markets: Feeder Services transport containers from the large European hubs to regional ports, thereby providing major international deep-sea container shipping lines easy access to ports and regions beyond their reach. Shortsea Services provide fully multi-modal door-to-door transport of full-load containerized cargo for customers across Europe, combining seaborne transport with third party road and/or rail logistical services.
Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark, Unifeeder has in the region of 400 employees and professional representatives in 25 countries.
About DP World
DP World is a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain. The group operates multiple businesses – from marine and inland terminals, maritime services, logistics and ancillary services to technology-driven trade solutions.
There is a portfolio of 78 operating marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in 40 countries across six continents with a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets. This is achieved with a dedicated team of over 36,000 employees from 103 countries with long-standing relationships with governments, shipping lines, importers and exporters, communities, and many other important constituents of the global supply chain, to add value and provide quality services.
In 2017, DP World handled 70.1 million TEU across its portfolio. With a committed pipeline of developments and expansions, current gross capacity of 88.2 million TEU is expected to rise to more than 100 million TEU by 2020.
One of Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani’s last duties before leaving office on 13 February was to make a written statement on Light Dues, the means of financing the marine aids to navigation services of the United Kingdom.
In the document she said: ‘A strong and growing maritime industry is vital to the economy of the United Kingdom and it is critical that we treasure and protect this vital artery if we are to remain a world-leading maritime centre.
‘The work of the General Lighthouse Authorities2, which provide and maintain marine aids to navigation and respond to new wrecks and navigation dangers in some of the busiest waters in the world, is crucial to underpinning that vision whilst maintaining our vigorous safety record and continuously improving standards of safety.
‘Reductions in the three General Lighthouse Authorities’ running costs have enabled the UK to reduce light dues on four occasions since 2014. For 2020 to 2021 I intend to freeze light dues rates at 37½ pence per net registered tonne. This will mean that light dues will have fallen by 30% in real terms since 2010.
‘Light dues rates will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the General Lighthouse Authorities are challenged to provide an effective and efficient service which offers value for money to light dues payers.’
New hubs of business and enterprise will be opened across the UK creating thousands of jobs, regenerating communities and turbocharging Britain’s post-Brexit growth, the Government announced on 10 February.
Up to ten new innovative Freeports will be opened across the UK as the Government seeks to level up the country and seize on the opportunities leaving the EU has presented. This was the style of a news item delivered on behalf of HM Treasury.
A consultation has been launched setting out the Government’s vision for Freeports, with the aim of announcing the location of the new zones at the end of this year so they can be open for business in 2021.
It is understood that once the ten-week consultation is completed, the Government will invite sea, air and rail ports to bid for Freeport status on a competitive basis.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘Freeports will unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK as we level up. They will attract new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.
‘This is all part of our mission as an open, outward-looking country, championing global free trade with vibrant Freeports that work for all of the UK.’