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.
Much of the negative Brexit talk on ports has been about queues of lorries at Dover, but not about worsening quayside and landside box port congestion at the UK’s big container terminals This was outlined in a communiqué by Richard Christian, Port of Dover Head of Policy & Communications on 11 October.
A lot of the positive talk has been about such box ports being ready for Brexit and other ro-ro ferry ports operated by the same owners being ready to take a bit of Dover’s traffic in case Dover is not.
Yet on all of these counts, while more ultra-large container vessels are diverted from major UK container ports such as Southampton to non-UK hubs, while imports destined for the UK Christmas market end up in Rotterdam delayed for several weeks, and while it becomes clear other UK ro-ro ports such as Hull or Immingham say they could only ever take up to 20% of Dover’s traffic at an eye-watering cost of around £2.5 billion, the Government’s focus is and has been on keeping all trade flowing through Dover.
Why? It is because British consumers ordering or buying their Christmas presents right up to the last minute want to know they will get them in time; because the ferries needed to divert Dover’s traffic do not actually exist; because the crossings are too long and the sailings too infrequent; and because leaving 80% of Dover’s traffic in a queue helps no-one. That is cheap, or perhaps not so cheap, opportunism at a time when Britain is again turning to its historic frontline, to Dover, for a solution that will actually work for everyone.
In fact, the Government understands that rather than becoming boxed in by distraction, it needs to remain 100% focused on the solution for Dover that will keep traffic flowing across the UK, keep shops full, factories busy and prices low for consumers.
At the centre of contingency planning
That is why Dover is at the centre of contingency planning to minimise disruption in the event of a No-Deal Brexit. Dover handles more international lorries than all other UK ports combined. Unless we have another ice age before March 2019, Dover will remain the shortest sea crossing to Europe. The Port, together with the Government, is keeping the temperature hot on Brexit planning to keep the trade tap flowing through Dover. Elsewhere the deep freeze may have already taken hold as box port congestion and the resultant glacial movement of traffic gets a grip.
Dover may have seemed boxed in by Brexit, but it is punching out to ensure successful future trade with Europe remains about delivering a realistic solution. That means a free-flowing Dover, whose speed, efficiency and capacity cannot be replicated anywhere else. The solution is here. That’s why it is game Dover for the rest.
Currently, Dover Cargo Terminal (pictured here) has a flourishing trade in perishables freight with three reefer container ships calling at Dover on a weekly basis. These deep-sea services are operated by Africa Express Line, bringing in fresh produce from West Africa and Seatrade which has Dover as a port of call on its Costa Rica-Colombia-Europe line. This equates to the Port of Dover contributing to at least 25% of bananas imported into the UK.
The illustration has been kindly made available at: www.portofdover.org ©.
Opened by Agnes Wong Tin-yu, Director of Marine for Hong Kong SAR, today’s Nautical Institute International Conference 2019 gave rise to a lively and stimulating debate on the subject of Shiphandling.
Held at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the morning session included presentations on the legal consequences of shiphandling incidents, special considerations for handling large tankers, handling ships in heavy weather and how digital technologies support command decisions in shiphandling.
In the afternoon delegates were invited to consider the role of simulator and computer based training in shiphandling and also heard from senior pilots working at the ports of Shanghai and Shenzhen. The closing presentation from Capt Stephen Wong of the Hong Kong Pilots Association focused on changes in shiphandling techniques in Hong Kong harbour.
Addressing delegates, Capt Nick Nash FNI president of The Nautical Institute, said:
”Shiphandling is obviously one of the core skills for any shipmaster. This conference has given us all further insights into this skill and the repercussions if we get it wrong!”
“Training is the key, along with proper mentoring while at sea. The collaboration and integration of Bridge teams, Pilots and VTS, while making full use of new technologies will ensure that shiphandling lies at the heart of safety and best practice in the maritime industry.”
Early in June two warships from the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), Turkish frigate TCG Gokova and from the Royal Navy HMS Westminster successfully completed an important training mission in support of joint warfighting logistics. Our illustration has been kindly provided by
NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM) © www.mc.nato.int/media-centre/news
It was reported from NATO Maritime Command at Northwood, NW London, that the two NATO ships escorted a civilian cargo vessel, mv Gute through high- traffic sea lanes during her transit from Norway to Sczecin, Poland carrying Norwegian military equipment for NATO exercise Noble Jump.
The safety and security of sea-based trade and transportation routes is critical to the prosperity of the Baltic nations and the NATO Alliance.
Escort training, such as that practiced by Gokova and Westminster, enhances interoperability among NATO and commercial shipping and provides reassurance to NATO allies and partners that NATO is capable and ready to maintain freedom of navigation in the Baltic Sea.