With little market growth likely over the next few years and significant port capacity additions due to come on stream, competition between North European container terminals is set to intensify, reports Drewry Maritime Research.
In the search for volume, it will be the transhipment sector which is likely to be the first target. With some fanfare, Eurogate has announced that the Eugen Maersk is to call at its new, deepwater Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven later this month. Deployed within the A10 Far-East to Europe service, the 15,000 teu capacity vessel will make an unscheduled port call to link up with two feeder vessels.
Drewry suggests that Wilhelshaven is actively pursuing transhipment business, given that it can yield volumes more quickly than gateway traffic, which is a much slower to attract to a new port.
Rotterdam too is in competiotn as two new terminals at Maasvlakte II will be coming on stream towards the end of next year, adding nearly 5 million teu of capacity to the market. One of their first aims will be winning traffic from incumbent operator ECT which will need to find volume to backfill – and greater transhipment seems like an obvious target.
In conclusion, Drewry Maritime Research's view is that transhipment is clearly set to become a key battleground for North European ports and terminals, driven by the growth in Eastern Europe, and the immediacy of volumes that winning transhipment business can bring. However, no port or terminal can succeed in the transhipment sector in isolation. Gateway traffic will remain the key bedrock.
Source: Drewry Maritime Research