BUT CONTAINER PORT CONGESTION PROBLEMS WILL CONTINUE. The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the announcement by the Department for Transport that the application by PD Teesport to expand container terminal facilities at Teesport has been approved. Teesport's plans will see a six-fold increase in container handling capacity at the port – from around 250,000 Twenty foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) a year to around 1.5 million.
Commenting on the announcement, FTA's Head of Global Supply Chain Policy, Christopher Snelling said, 'The increased capacity is certainly much needed and this is a very welcome announcement. It will increase the ability of shipping lines and their customers, the retailers and manufacturers, to reach the north east directly, as well as providing extra resource for the whole of the UK.'
However, Snelling cautioned that this would not solve the UK's problems of port congestion. 'This expansion has already been factored into industry forecasts regarding UK port congestion and this will not solve the problems we face, given the expected continuing increase in containers coming into the UK.
'The UK needs greater port capacity – especially in the south east where the large container ships serving the Asia to Europe lines will call. Government needs to proceed with planning reform and commit to support inland infrastructure development from ports, to help deliver this. Otherwise the whole UK economy will suffer.'
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. FTA's website can be found at www.fta.co.uk