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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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29/07/19 11:32

Turkey support big investment in Benelux port

Ekol Logistics and Transuniverse Forwarding have agreed to build mega multimodal site in North Sea Port, in the Ghent harbour, Belgium

Turkish company Ekol Logistics and Belgian groupage firm Transuniverse Forwarding announced that they are together building a 40 hectare multimodal site at Kluizendok in Ghent, part of North Sea Port, is the 60-kilometer cross-border port area from Vlissingen and Borsele and Terneuzen in the Netherlands to Ghent 32 kilometers in the Flemish Belgian inland.  

There will be 10 hectares for a cross-docking platform, 20 hectares for a rail terminal and 10 hectares for a ro-ro terminal; the new transhipment building will be operational by the end of 2021.

Transuniverse Forwarding, Ekol Logistics and North Sea Port have signed a letter of intent to develop this new site; by doing so, the groupage company is significantly increasing its capacity and building an intermodal hub for goods flows between the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe and North West Europe.

Ghent-based Transuniverse Forwarding is a groupage specialist within Europe and in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey and Iran, holding 30 distribution platforms in Europe, both under its own management and with local partners, for 37,000 m².

The Flemish company currently operates a so-called cross-dock centre in Ghent for its groupage shipments to and from the whole of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, where shipments are brought together and divided between trucks or intermodal containers in order to go to the different destinations; such goods flows have seen strong growth over recent years, which means that the current 8,000 m² facility has become insufficient.

“We have taken an option to build a new 20,000 m² cross-dock centre on a site covering 10 hectares. According to the preliminary plans, the building will be more than 300 metres long and 60 metres wide and will number 140 loading docks/loading platforms. Being so big, some transhipment will be automated or robotised” stated Frank Adins, chairman of Transuniverse Forwarding Group.

Because containers and trailers heading for the United Kingdom will be moved by ship, Ekol Logistics and Transuniverse are also building a ro-ro terminal building at the head of Kluizendok.

“This terminal will be operated by a third party. Negotiations are already underway” Adins added. “The growth opportunities for cargo transhipment between Ghent and the United Kingdom are considerable. Brexit is expected to cause major congestion in the Channel ports. This will create opportunities to organise transport by ship to more northerly ports in the United Kingdom, in conjunction with rail connections to and from the European hinterland”.

Presently Transuniverse handles some 100 trucks and intermodal containers per week in Ghent but, thanks to the new facilities at Kluizendok, expects to double activities within five years. Every week, 20 Ekol trains will depart from the railway terminal in North Sea Port, linking to the European hinterland.

Overall the terminal, that will be operated by a third party (negotiations are already underway), is expected to tranship 2 million tons of goods.

As of September the Turkish group will be acting as agent for the Ghent-based groupage specialist in Hungary as well. To service that country both parties are playing the intermodal card. Transuniverse and Ekol are already partners in Turkey and Spain. This fits in with the growth strategy of Transuniverse Forwarding, which has recently started to operate in Russia as well.

The Ghent-based operator provides daily freight options from Belgium to Hungary; every week 20 trucks make the journey in that direction, the vast majority of those transport operations involving part loads. The trucks do not cover the whole distance by road; trailers are loaded onto a block train in Cologne, bound for Budapest, which shuttles to the Hungarian capital three days per week.
The Turkish company has a warehouse in the immediate vicinity of the railway terminal in Budapest, from where it can arrange the onward distribution of the shipments (including  ADR).

Transuniverse and Ekol are already using Cologne as intermodal starting point for freight bound for Turkey; Ekol will also be making use of the train on the Zeebrugge-Trieste axis from now on.

On 8 December 2017 the official launch of the company formed by the merger between Ghent Port Company (Flanders) and Zeeland Seaports (the Netherlands) occurred after 8 publicly-owned shareholders agreed to this cross-border merger. On behalf of Zeeland Seaports in the Netherlands, incorporating the ports of Vlissingen and Terneuzen, the province of Zeeland and the municipalities of Borsele, Terneuzen and Vlissingen. On behalf of the port of Ghent, the city of Ghent, the municipalities of Evergem and Zelzate and the province of East Flanders.

The name of the cross-border merger port, North Sea Port, represents the 60-kilometre-long cross-border port area of Flushing, Borsele and Terneuzen in the Netherlands up to Ghent in Belgium.

Early 2018, a European public limited liability company was established as holding of the two subsidiary Zeeland Seaports and Ghent Port Company, for which a supervisory body was installed.

North Sea Port immediately positions itself among the top of European sea ports, being the number 3 in added value and the number 10 in cargo transhipment.

By the year 2022, North Sea Port wants to be a leading brand in the international port world, aiming to increase its added value by 10%, its maritime traffic to 70 million tonnes (currently 62 million tonnes) and inland traffic to 60 million tonnes (currently 55 million tonnes). North Sea Port has almost 1,000 hectares allocable land.

In the first half of 2019 North Sea Port sea freight transhipments totalled 36.6 mln tonnes (+2%), this being the best semester ever.

Dry bulk accounts for the largest part of cargo volume with 17.5 million tonnes (+9% ). With an increase of 550,000 tonnes (81%), container transhipment once again showed very strong growth and reached 1.2 million tonnes. After a strong increase in the previous year, liquid bulk has fallen by 4%, mainly with respect to petroleum fuels and energy gases, for a total of 10.4 million tonnes. The transhipment of general cargo falls by 10% to 5.6 million tonnes. More and more goods in the food sector and other sectors are transported by container, which reduces the share of general cargo. Transhipments of rolling cargo declined by 11% to 1.7 million tonnes.

 

Angelo Scorza
 

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