Frans Calje, CEO of PD Ports
Teesport has developed from being a traditional port, to one which can offer exporters and importers a total solution to their logistics needs, as Frans Calje explains.
Historically serving the region’s oil, chemicals and steel industries, in the past 15 years, Teesport has reinvented itself as a logistics hub, serving exporters and importers throughout the North of England and Scotland.
Chief executive officer of PD Ports, Frans Calje, explains: “We deliberately chose to diversify ourselves and to develop our import and export capability, serving more markets and expanding our offer. That was not just about building the port facilities, we were also very focused on adding value to customers’ supply chains with services such as freight forwarding to offer integrated solutions as an intermodal connection.’’
Owned and operated by PD Ports, one of the UK’s major port groups, Teesport serves a market from Sheffield and Liverpool to the North of Scotland. It the UK’s leading specialist in portcentric logistics handling over 500,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) per annum.
“Our year-on-year growth in container volumes over the last decade or so has been cumulatively about 12% and that has been during a big recession,’’ says Frans. “That tells you that we are doing something right.’’
As a logistics hub, with direct intermodal rail links across the UK, Teesport can help exporters reach their markets quickly and easily.
“If you are an exporter and you have an order coming in, the issue you will always have is: what is your lead time to market? How are you going to remain competitive if you have to wait for your next ship to come round in another three to four days? The beauty of an intermodal rail connection is that you send it today on a train down into Teesport, it connects within a couple of hours straight onto a ferry and within another 18 hours, it is on the other side of the Channel. So in little over a day you can get it from your factory doors to the continent.’’
PD Ports can help an exporter with their logistics to any degree that the customer requires.
“As an exporter it all depends on what you want,’’ says Frans. “With our portcentric model, we give you a menu of choices for what you require from our logistical value-added services. You can pick and choose whatever you like. You can do forwarding with us, you can do customs clearances, you can do terminal handling, warehousing and distribution services. We offer haulage and transport and provide you with an intermodal solution. Also, we have a supply chain management desk and, depending on what it is that you want, we support you as much as you need us to.
“For example, a leading customer of ours is Taylors of Harrogate. We manage their entire inbound supply chain for Yorkshire Tea. There’s nothing in this supply chain that we do not do, except for the tea tasting and putting it into a tea bag. So they take the whole menu. But we have other shippers who will say they don’t need that and that all they expect is to be able to collect their container at Teesport in an orderly and efficient manner. It’s pick and mix logistics.’’
This service was further enhanced recently when the port launched a second rail service connecting directly with Scotland, opening up further opportunities to connect global importers and exporters with the north of the UK.
The new service, operated by DB Cargo, runs five days a week from the quayside at Teesport to PD Stirling Terminal at Mossend in Glasgow. The timings of the service operate in direct connection with the P&O Ferries service calling daily at Teesport from Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, providing a connection for shippers, shipping lines and forwarders looking for frequent, flexible and efficient routes to market.
Having launched the first Scottish rail connection from Teesport in August 2015, the port now offers more direct daily connections to and from Scotland than any other port in the North of England, running 10 trains a week and carrying more than 30 containers per journey each way, laden with a variety of goods including food, drinks and furniture.
A significant proportion of the containers travelling on this service are volume from the daily P&O Ferries service from Zeebrugge. Earlier this year P&O Ferries increased its capacity on this service by 25% in a response to market demand for Teesport as the port of choice to connect shippers with Scotland.
Frans says: “Rail is a tough nut to crack, with investment decisions taking years to materialise and often at a rate out of line with the demanding and unforgiving world of logistics where the market demands change daily. Introducing this service was a bold move but a necessary one.
“Rail is crucial to moving freight around the country and its importance is increasing as customers look to move goods quicker, more cost-effectively and in an environmentally friendly way.
“People are shipping into Teesport because we can offer frequency and reliability, fundamental to our customers’ success. Teesport has over 26 vessel calls a week with vessels arriving from the Baltics every 30 hours and every 48 hours from Poland, with direct rail connections from the quayside to Scotland twice a day and once from Felixstowe. When a customer’s cargo arrives at Teesport, they have options, whereas with other transport and logistic platforms this isn’t available, either because they lack the frequency of connections or they haven’t got the destinations. In Teesport it all connects together in one single hub.’’
This use of rail freight has the advantage of reducing congestion on the roads and carbon footprint and it also has the advantage of addressing a growing problem with road haulage.
“There is an acute and ever-increasing shortage of haulage drivers,’’ says Frans. “We are currently 45,000 HGV drivers short in the country and that’s only going to get worse as we come out of the EU.’’
“Customers want assurance and choice. At Teesport we can offer that both through our own road transport fleet, port side rail connections and extensive European sailing connections, which we pride ourselves on.”
PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade, seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
For more info visit www.northernexportawards.co.uk.
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