Short-sea container services could provide alternative capacity between the UK and EU to alleviate possible congestion at the Port of Dover post-Brexit, a study by shipping consultancy Drewry showed.
These latest findings follow an earlier Brexit briefing and resilience study by Drewry which concluded that the Port of Dover had the capacity to cope with moderate Brexit disruption.
Using this ‘alternative mode’ assumption, Drewry sought to understand the current container services available at UK Ports, their connectivity with EU Ports and to examine what container shipping lines could do to accommodate additional volumes by understanding current service capacity levels and how easily additional capacity, if required, might be deployed.
“In this second phase of our short-sea analysis we have turned our attention to alternative capacity and congestion mitigation,” said Tim Power, head of Drewry Maritime Advisors.
Powel explained that container shipping line services not only have the capacity, options and flexibility to handle additional container volumes in the event of disruption to cross-Channel freight services but also container terminals in the UK have the capacity to meet the additional throughput demands.
The study highlighted that of the 2.5 million trailers going via Dover up to 20% could possibly shift to another mode of transport. Also, the study showed that there are four ways that container shipping lines could cater for this demand, namely, making use of spare capacity on existing services; increasing frequency on existing services; increasing vessel sizes on existing services; and launching new services.
Furthermore, the study noted that UK container terminals in 11 ports have a combined spare capacity of 5.9 million TEUs, sufficient to handle this additional volume and provide wide geographical coverage.