The initial schedule offers a twice-weekly short sea container service, with its first departure from Antwerp on the 12th October. The service will be operated by a 508TEU capacity vessel, sailing from ATO's multimodal terminal on Tuesday and Saturday and ABP Port of Hull on Thursday and Monday.
This new connection is in addition to Samskip's existing shortsea services connecting Rotterdam with Tilbury, Hull and Grangemouth (eight per week) and the recent three times weekly Amsterdam-Hull service. This new Antwerp to Hull routing offers shippers a distinct local alternative.
Richard Beales UK & Ireland Regional Director commented: “In combination with our daily sailings to/from Rotterdam and following the successful launch of our three times weekly Amsterdam to Hull service in March, we are excited at the prospect of offering a new solution that can meet the requirements of the local and hinterland market in and around Antwerp, especially given the excellent rail and inland waterway links available.
“Manufacturers and logistics providers have a new efficient choice that offers an optimal routing, reduces their exposure to increasing road congestion and driver shortages, is cost effective and reduces CO2 in the supply chain.”
Mr Beales added: “With the current Brexit uncertainty we believe that our spread of dedicated short sea services can offer robust options for companies wanting to prepare by de-risking their supply chain.”
Extensive barge services connect to the ATO terminal including five times per week to both Antwerp's deep-sea container terminals via the Scheldt and - via the Albert Canal - to/from the LCT Liège Container Terminal.
Johan Gemels, Managing Director, ATO, commented: “Attracting a major multimodal operator such as Samskip very much aligns with the growth plans of ATO and fits perfectly with our services of handling ships, barges, trucks and trains. We look forward to working in partnership with Samskip to offer a new and competitive option for customers doing business in Antwerp and the UK.”
Total container traffic through Antwerp increased by 8.3% in the first half of 2018 over the equivalent period in 2017, according to Port of Antwerp figures. The UK is Antwerp's third largest maritime trading partner, contributing around 15 million tonnes of freight every year.
Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren said: “We welcome Samskip to the port of Antwerp and their strategic decision to use Antwerp as the departure point for their new short-sea service to the UK. Mobility in and around the port remains a serious challenge and is therefore one of our strategic priorities to ensure further sustainable growth. To create a modal shift that brings the share of truck transport down, it is crucial to offer efficient alternative means of transport and shortsea is clearly one of them. Samskip has excellent expertise in this field and this new short-sea service will definitely support us in achieving this goal.”
ABP Humber Director, Simon Bird, commented: “It's fantastic news that Samskip has favoured the Port of Hull once again as its premier short-sea departure destination.
“ABP has continued to drive substantial investments in its Hull Container Terminal, not only with increasing container storage space and state-of-the-art equipment, but also continual advancements in training our operational staff to ensure the best possible service and turnaround times for our customers.”