Forth Ports Limited and Port of Zeebrugge/MBZ yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which marks the start of a strategic agreement between the Port companies with the aim of the exploring mutual opportunities to attract new container cargo volumes.
Both ports have complementary assets both in current trade arrangements and geographical positioning and through this MoU, Forth Ports and Port of Zeebrugge have agreed to explore initiatives to develop these current trade links and connections. The agreement will initially focus on enhancing container cargo volumes at Port of Zeebrugge and London Container Terminal (LCT) in Tilbury which is the UK’s third largest container terminal.
Zeebrugge’s container volumes are largely dominated by deepsea Far East volumes, while LCT has a particularly strong position on the South America trades. LCT at Tilbury has a unique geographical position as London’s key port, while Zeebrugge has a unique deep-water location near the seagoing trade lanes. Zeebrugge also has a significant South America cargo base demand while Tilbury is an excellent gateway for Far East cargo for the London consumer markets.
Independent business advisors Maritime & Transport Business Solutions (MTBS) completed the market analysis for LCT which has led to the MoU being agreed by both Ports. MTBS will remain on board to provide further support as the project develops.
Commenting on the MoU, Perry Glading, Chief Operating Officer at Forth Ports (owners of Port of Tilbury and LCT) said: “This is great news and a real opportunity to capitalise on synergies at both Ports. Tilbury has a unique position in the UK at the heart of the London and South East markets. Using a regular feeder service from Zeebrugge we offer an alternative to large deep sea vessels who need only make one call at the Belgium ports for the onward feed service to the UK.
“We have a significant investment programme underway at LCT and have already installed a new ICT system, purchased 14 new straddle carriers and installed a new single lock gate. We look forward to working with MBZ at Zeebrugge on this important project.”
Mr Coens said: “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is a logical development, since from way back Port of Zeebrugge acts as a bridgehead for the British markets, in particular the London area. By strengthening the ties with Tilbury, we aim at enhancing cargo flows.”