London Gateway vows to be a hub not a spoke of Continental ports
LONDON GATEWAY, the DP World container terminal under construction in the lower Thames Estuary, is bent on becoming a hub of its own and not spoke for Le Havre, Rotterdam, Antwerp or Hamburg. Wednesday, 30.May.2012, 00:37 (GMT+3)
LONDON GATEWAY, the DP World container terminal under construction in the lower Thames Estuary, is bent on becoming a hub of its own and not spoke for Le Havre, Rotterdam, Antwerp or Hamburg.
"We are going back to our roots," said London Gateway CEO Simon Moore. "We are getting the biggest ships in the world as close as we can to the biggest point of consumption and giving cargo owners the opportunity to store and warehouse their goods right next to the ships."
Only its British rival Felixstowe, owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison, can take in the megaships now flooding the market, he said, according to London's Daily Telegraph. Despite the expansion of Felixstowe, he said there is an increasing shortage of capacity in Britain to handle megaships.
"Today there are less than 100 [megaships] of them in service. By the end of next year, there will be more than 200. As shipping lines look to improve their economies of scale, ships are getting bigger and bigger. The UK is an island nation, it has to have port capacity for the 21st century," he said.
That makes London Gateway, with its 3.5 million TEU annual capacity at full build-out, an obvious choice for direct calls, he said. "We have 15 million people living within 80 kilometres and a big cost in the transportation chain is the cost of moving the goods from the port to the end user. If you can keep that link as short as possible, if the difference is driving 20 miles or 100, you are saving money," said Mr Moore.
Being a hub and not a spoke is important. "It's not that different from the idea of hub airports. If you talk to businessmen in London, one reason they are here is because they can jump on a plane and go direct to Dubai or New York or Hong Kong. What if you couldn't? If you had to go via Schiphol, Paris, Frankfurt. It can be done. But is it going to make the UK more attractive for business or less? It's another link in the chain and that's a disadvantage.
"It's the same with ports. 90pc of our trade comes by sea. And we are big enough to have these big ships come in directly. That shortens transit times for importers and exporters. It's about ensuring we keep this island nation directly connected to the M1 of world trade. Otherwise we are an A road or a B road off someone else's highway," said Mr Moore.
Asked whether London Gateway has anchor clients, Mr Moore said: "We do, but we're not saying anything yet. People who are coming have concerns over how they may be treated in between time if we make their names public now," he said.