Initially focussing on enhancing container cargo at the Port of Zeebrugge and London Container Terminal (LCT) in Forth’s Port of Tilbury, the MoU will explore mutual opportunities to develop current trade links and attract new volumes.
Both ports have complementary assets in terms of current trade arrangements and geographical positioning. LCT at Tilbury currently holds a unique geographical position as London’s key port, while Zeebrugge has a deep-water location near the seagoing trade lanes.
Deep-sea Far East trade largely dominates container volumes at the Belgium port, which also has a significant South America cargo base demand; LCT has a particularly strong position on the South America trades but is seen as an excellent gateway for Far East cargo for the London consumer markets.
Commenting on the MoU, Perry Glading, chief operating officer at Forth Ports, said: “This is 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 feeder service to the UK”.
Joachim Coens, chairman and managing director at the Port of Zeebrugge, added: “This MoU 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”.