LARGEST NORTH SEA INTRA-EUROPE BOXSHIPS PLANNED BY GEEST
Geest North Sea Line, the intra-Europe container shipping and intermodal operator, plans to introduce the largest containerships deployed in the North Sea regional trade in 2004 — two ships of 804-TEU capacity.
Wout Pronk, managing director of the Rotterdam-based shortsea company, told the Intermodal Transport & Logistics conference in Rotterdam that the new vessels will be “far bigger than anything that has been used in the North Sea shipping trades before.”
The two 804-TEU containerships will also have more than twice the container capacity of the ships currently operated by Geest
Geest said that the new vessels have been designed specifically to carry 45-foot and heavy 20-foot and 30-foot containers. Once in service, they will operate between Rotterdam and the east coast of the United Kingdom.
The development of the intra-European shortsea business plays well with the European Commission, which aims to transfer freight from the road to alternative transport modes.
“Geest has long been committed to minimizing transportation by road in the U.K. due to the costs and the logistical difficulties involved,” a spokesman for the company said. Geest has developed its shortsea and coastal shipping routes, and its ships calls at four ports on the U.K. East Coast to minimize road distances to inland points.
Pronk said that a frequency of one sailing a week is insufficient for intra-European shippers, who generally require at least three sailings a week. To generate sufficient volumes on an intra-European shortsea route, a shipping line must “involve from the outset the road transport operators who already control the traffic,” he said. “You need them to be actively supporting shortsea shipping, not competing with it.”