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Maersk is relocating its Immingham-Europe service to Hull Container Terminal, following shipper concerns over accessibility.
The 800-teu weekly sailing, operated by BG Freight, will move on 12 January, arriving at and departing from Hull on Saturdays, reaching Rotterdam midweek.
A spokesperson for Maersk told The Loadstar: “Customers had been contacting us about using Hull instead of Immingham as apparently it is easier to gain access.
“In some cases, they were saying, issues with connectivity to Immingham were adding as much as three hours to journeys, and Hull has proved helpful in the decision-making.”
Both Humberside ports are owned and operated by Associated British Ports (ABP), which has recently invested £50m into developing both terminals, doubling Hull’s capacity to 240,000 teu a year.
Alongside this, Hull has trebled its weekly sailings from five to 16 this year, with Humber director Simon Bird praising the developments.
“We believe Hull and Immingham are now the premier container destinations in the north of England, offering an unrivalled service,” he said. “We’re proud to welcome Maersk to the Hull Container Terminal and we look forward to strengthening our partnership and building further trade links.
“Unlocking this new trade gateway to the rest of the world is not only significant for the local economy, but also for the national and international economy.”
In a statement, Maersk pointed to the importance of the English north-east in exports of fish and fresh produce. The carrier’s product manager for UK and Ireland, Asbjorn Kops, said he was “very pleased” with the move and believes it will provide customers with improved services.
“We continuously work on improving our local product offering, ensuring our portfolio meets customer expectations and helps them grow their business. Our shortsea connections complement our ocean services and connect our customers with markets around the world.”
Some 17% of all seaborne trade from the UK is handled by ABP’s four ports on the Humber, Grimsby, Goole, Immingham and Hull, where, the operator noted, they handled more trade than the Mersey, Tyne and Tees combined, at some £75bn.