CMA CGM container being loaded

Portico, the international cargo terminal based at Portsmouth International Port, are helping some of the world’s biggest shipping lines get their empty containers back to where they are needed most.

Britain is currently awash with empty containers. This is causing congestion at UK ports and a shortage of containers in Asia for exports, with low container availability reported across Chinese and Indian ports. This issue has widespread implications for the worldwide economy, with multiple knock-on effects.

The ongoing effect of the coronavirus pandemic, along with some British ports seeing container traffic 30 per cent above normal levels has led to a glut of empty containers across the UK. Combine this with importers looking to stock up ahead of Christmas, and you’ve got a major container headache.

To help get containers moving again, Portico are working with some of the world’s biggest shipping lines to get them back to where they are needed. Their flexible terminal and great location next to the motorway network means they are ideally placed to help remedy this problem.

Elbstrom from the side

This started today, with a shipment of empty CMA CGM containers being loaded onto BG Freight vessel, MV Elbstrom, bound for Europe.

Steve Williams MBE, operations director at Portico said: “We’re pleased that we can do our bit to help solve this issue, which is causing disruption to supply chains across the globe and hampering the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve really demonstrated our versatility this year, handling everything from fresh produce to satellite test chambers, showing that we’re ready for any challenge.”

Elbstrom from front

This visit of BG Freight to the terminal is the first from one of Europe’s major short sea shipping lines, which demonstrates the potential of more scheduled feeder services establishing themselves at Portsmouth.

Jonathan Williams, commercial manager at Portico said: “There is still much uncertainty regarding the UK’s future trading relationship with Europe. Because of this, many businesses are looking at moving their European exports from roll-on/roll-off services using the Dover straits, to short sea container services which offer reliability alongside significant cost and carbon savings.

“We already offer a weekly service to the Port of Antwerp and have an in-house customs agency team to deal with the paperwork, so we’d encourage British businesses to get in touch to see how we can help you.”