Britain’s new global shipping port yesterday welcomed its first scheduled vessel, the ‘MOL Caledon’ from South Africa. After more than a decade of planning and construction across three square miles of development, DP World London Gateway deep-sea port is now open, providing British exporters and importers with a more efficient way to ship globally, at less cost.
The ‘MOL Caledon’ was welcomed by DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Vice Chairman Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Group CEO Mohammed Sharaf, Chairman of MOL Liner Junichiro Ikeda, and shipper representatives JFH Hillebrand MD David Mawer and Chingford Fruit MD Gavin McNally, together with other senior executives.
London Gateway is located closer to major population centres of London, Birmingham and Manchester than other ports that are capable of handling the world’s biggest ships. The new port will reduce transport costs for exporters and importers by reducing millions of trucking miles from supply chains.
The port also provides 21st Century infrastructure for shipping lines that are building bigger ships. DP World, a leading global port operator with more than 65 marine terminals across six continents, including new developments, built Britain’s new port for today’s and the next generation of ships. Known as ‘ultra large container ships’ (ULCS), they are up to 400 metres long and can carry over 18,000 shipping containers.
The first scheduled ship to dock at the port, operated by MOL Liner, received exports and delivered containers carrying a variety of cargo, including fruit and automotive parts, which will be distributed across the country over the coming days. The MOL Caledon is part of the South African Europe Container Service (SAECS) which is made up of a consortium of shipping lines including MOL, Maersk, DAL and Safmarine.
Junichiro Ikeda, Chairman of MOL Liner, visiting London Gateway, yesterday, said: “I’m delighted to be here on this historic day at the opening of DP World’s London Gateway. We believe that the new port through its modern facilities and convenient links to the business community, will provide us the perfect platform to continue the efficient and reliable services MOL is committed to offering its UK customers. The conditions at London Gateway, like draft and tides also gives us the opportunity to grow further through the introduction of bigger ships and a further expansion of our network. It’s a promising new port for a great country.”
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman, DP World, said: “We are proud and pleased to be able to contribute to the UK economy by building and operating this state-of-the-art modern infrastructure that will support trade growth far into the future. This is the first port to be built in the UK in a generation and so there is nothing else like this in the country. From today, shipping lines can now bring the world’s largest ships closer to key UK markets and reduce the costs of transportation. At the same time, global businesses can make their supply chains more efficient. It’s a real pleasure to be able to stand side by side with MOL on this historic day.”
Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Vice Chairman, DP World, highlighted the importance of the logistics park adjacent to the port: “London Gateway’s logistics park is Europe’s largest and will save companies hundreds of millions of pounds every year from business costs by removing a whole step in UK supply chains. Goods will move through the port and straight into the logistics park, then straight to shops and homes, rather than being sent first to inland warehouses.”
Mohammed Sharaf, Group CEO DP World, said: “We are pleased to welcome one of our most important customers, MOL, as the first shipping line to call at London Gateway as part of the new consortium service routed through London Gateway. Bringing London Gateway to this point has been very much a partnership with all our stakeholders, including our customers, and I would particularly like to thank them, those involved in the port’s construction, government authorities, the community and our people who have worked tirelessly to realise this vision.”
Adrian Jones, Managing Director MOL (Europe) Ltd., said: “This is an historic moment for both MOL and DP World London Gateway. The arrival of our first container vessel into the port marks the birth of a facility that is likely to play a critical part in the future of seaborne trade to and from the UK. The proximity of London Gateway to London and DP World’s plans to grow an extensive logistics park around the port, mean that this will be an attractive port for many customers – reducing costs in their supply chain.”
Simon Moore, CEO London Gateway, said: “We are pleased to be able to start our first scheduled services today. It’s taken many years of hard work to achieve this milestone, delivered on time and on budget. It’s a huge day for the team here, but we remain focused on delivering what we set out to achieve, reduced supply chain costs and more reliability for importers and exporters.”
Leading importers and exporters from across the UK were in attendance at a ceremony held on the quayside this morning whilst the ship was being loaded. Chingford Fruit, one of the largest importers of fresh fruit from South Africa, uses MOL’s services to the UK.
MD Gavin McNally, said: “We ship thousands of tonnes of fruit into the UK for some of the most demanding retailers. We are always exploring opportunities for improvements to our already high levels of efficiency and I believe that London Gateway has the potential to deliver that for us. Therefore it’s great news to see the first MOL ship dock at London Gateway.”
David Mawer MD of JFH Hillebrand, a leading logistics company, was also at the ceremony. He said: “We ship thousands of containers into the country every year and we ensure the goods are moved quickly and efficiently, as that’s what our customers need. We are pleased that London Gateway is now operational so that we can use world-class infrastructure to help us increase reliability and efficiency.”
The port is now operating with its first berth open. When fully developed, London Gateway will operate six berths, with a total of 24 quay cranes and will be able to handle 3.5 million TEU a year.
Freight trains moved cargo to the midlands and further afield today from London Gateway’s new rail terminal. Over 30% of the containers moving through the port are planned to go by rail. The state-of-the-art terminal can handle the longest trains in the UK. DB Schenker Rail UK and Freightliner are both providing rail services to the new port.
Thousands of new jobs have been created in the construction sector during the past ten years at the site. According to a study by Oxford Economics, once fully operational, London Gateway will create 36,000 jobs and contribute £3.2bn to UK GDP annually.
DP World, November 8, 2013