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Port expansion go-ahead.

PD Ports is pressing ahead with expansion of its container terminal handling facilities in anticipation of an upturn in world trade that could trigger its parked pounds 300m deep sea container terminal project.

The latest pounds 2m investment, which will boost annual capacity from 206,000 teu (twenty-foot equivalent unit) to 236,000 teu, will involve moving the Port's import pound for Vauxhall cars and freeing up 10 acres behind the existing TCT2 container terminal facilities.

Despite a global downturn in container shipping of around 10%, the port said it expected to grow container volumes in advance of construction of the pounds 300m Northern Gateway Container Terminal (NGCT) project.

Just over half of the latest investment has gone into the purchase of new equipment including two new empty container handlers, four terminal tractors and five trailers to improve efficiency.

The Port said it would use area to hold stocks of empty containers for its existing customers, including CMA CGM, Containerships and MSC.

David Robinson, PD Ports' group chief executive officer, said: "This investment signifies the first of a number of development phases at Teesport required to accommodate the growing container volume throughput. The rise in volumes is a result of general growth of our existing customer activity, together with increasing portcentric logistics traffic from the likes of existing client Asda Wal*Mart and recently Tesco, whose 1.2 million sq ft import centre is due to open at Teesport next week.

"Further expectation of growth in our container volume comes through transhipment volumes, with Containerships recently announcing Teesport as its strategic freight hub for Northern Europe, bringing an increase of 20,000 teu each year.

"Our latest investment further demonstrates our commitment to growth in container volumes over the next five years. Investing now clearly reinforces the view that we have confidence in our customers developing their businesses in the longer term."

Last month, Drewry Shipping Consultants said there was "no good news" on the horizon for container shippers as it highlighted a $20bn black hole in the industry.

Against this backdrop, PD Ports has seen its container volumes fall by 12-15%, but it is banking on the grocery sector stimulating movement through the port.


SET FOR GROWTH: PD Ports' TCT2 container expansion area
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 11, 2009
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