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Forth Ports and Port of Zeebrugge join forces in a Strategic Agreement


Forth Ports and Port of Zeebrugge join forces in a Strategic Agreement
MoU signed to explore new container cargo opportunities

Forth Ports Limited and Port of Zeebrugge / MBZ have today (19 June 2013) 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 3rd 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.”


19 June 2013     Ends

For further information:
Forth Ports: Debbie Johnston, Spreng & Co – +44 (0)141 548 5191 / debbie@sprengandco.com
MBZ: Joachim Coens, CEO, Port of Zeebrugge, + 32 (0) 476 409 193

Notes to Editors:

About Forth Ports Limited/ London Container Terminal
• Forth Ports Limited owns and operates eight commercial ports in the UK – Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee on the Firth of Tay and six on the Firth of Forth – Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy. It also owns, Nordic, which operates out of Chatham in Kent and Tilbury, which is engaged in port activities and recycling.
• Forth Ports acquired fully Tilbury Container Terminal in January 2012, having bought out then joint owners DP World and Associated British Ports.  Now rebranded as London Container Terminal, it is the UK’s third largest container port.  The deep-sea terminal is located on the Thames and is a key shipping and distribution location with unrivalled access to London and the South East. It is a busy terminal, handling around 320,000 containers last year, an increase of 2.4% from 2010, and has a strong trading position with the North/South reefer trades primarily South America and South Africa and has strong links with a number of other deep sea trades.  The Port of Tilbury also runs a successful short sea business which handled around 130,000 containers in 2011, up 7.6% from 2010.  The short sea business provides regular links to Continental Europe and to other UK coastal feeder locations.
www.londoncontainerterminal.co.uk   www.forthports.co.uk

About Port of Zeebrugge / MBZ
Port of Zeebrugge is managed by Port Authority/MBZ (Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeehaven).
This company is an autonomous company regulated by public law, the city of Bruges being the main shareholder. The Port authority determines the port policy and is responsible for the technical, nautical and commercial aspects of the port management.
In addition the Port authority gives advice to customers on the development of their port activities. The authority is always on the lookout for new customers through worldwide port promotion on fairs, trade missions and port promotion days.
The Port authority is also assigned to determine the port strategy and to optimize the opening-up of the port.

About MTBS
MTBS is a leading international finance and strategy advisory firm, in the maritime and transport sector, specialized in ports and terminals, and providing leading expertise in the areas of strategy, business case & feasibility, transactions and finance. MTBS is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. www.mtbs.nl