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 ©.
There is still time to complete the GLAs’ Differential GPS user survey
Survey responses can be provided until 31 December 2018. The survey can be completed online or may be posted.
The General Lighthouse Authorities of the UK and Ireland are conducting a survey to gauge current and future user requirements for their Differential GPS service.
The 1st International Shipmasters’ Congress
Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry
The India Habitat Centre
New Delhi, India
25-27 September 2019
ISC ’19 Invitation to submit abstracts
IFSMA, the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations, and CMMI, the Company of Master Mariners of India, cordially invite all members of the maritime / marine scientific and professional community to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations at ISC ’19, the International Shipmasters’ Congress 2019, which is scheduled to be held from 25 to 27 September 2019 at the Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India addressing the theme Future Skills Requirements for a Digitized Maritime Industry.
ISC ’19 is organized by the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) in co-operation with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI) and enjoys the kind support of the Indian Ministry of Shipping, the Indian Maritime University, the HSB | City University of Applied Sciences and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.