Samskip has launched a direct weekly service connecting Portugal and the UK, introducing its own vessel to sustain links between Tilbury, Lisbon, Leixões and its multimodal hub port of Rotterdam
The Netherlands-based group introduced a 1,000-TEU container ship on charter from November. It will sustain UK-Portugal transit times of five days, while continuing to offer four-times weekly services from Rotterdam to Leixões and weekly to Lisbon via space booked with other carriers.
The upgrade will allow Samskip to grow its Portugal-UK volumes by 30-40%, according Samskip trade manager Iberia Lisa Westerhuis.
“We have been building our multimodal presence in Portugal for over a decade through shortsea, rail and last-mile road services,” said Ms Westerhuis. “Now, Samskip is responding to growing UK-Portugal demand with its own ship: when new capacity is required, we seek solutions where reliability and efficiency is in our own hands.”
Samskip’s agency in Portugal, Noatum Maritime Services’ international commercial managing director, Luis Paz da Silva said 45 ft length containers were proving key in persuading Portuguese importers and exporters to switch away from road haulage. “The 45-footer is especially competitive with trailers at distances of up to 200 km from the ports, including cross-border,” he said, estimating that the 45 ft market in Portugal today is four times what it was 10 years ago.
The last decade has seen Samskip build strong relations with Portuguese exporters to the UK, with food and drinks businesses a specific target for the new direct service. Southbound, the European Samskip multimodal network that feeds shortsea links out of Rotterdam was being boosted by Norwegian exports in transit after the integration of the company’s 2017 acquisition Nor Lines, said Mr Paz da Silva.
“People are paying attention to shortsea for door-to-door services as never before and the timing is right to introduce a higher quality direct shortsea link. We also envisage this route as a platform for value-added services, such as cross-docking and LCL, and a new opportunity to work hand-in-hand with deepsea carriers.”
Ms Westerhuis added that, as well as aligning with EU transport policy aspirations, the shortsea option is bringing significant CO2 emissions savings over its road competitor.