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New route to the Continent

A new Portsmouth to Antwerp shipping route offers an alternative to anyone worried about a chaotic Brexit. Ben Harraway, commercial manager at Portico, explains why the route is so attractive

What will Brexit bring to the UK’s ports? As a commercial manager at one of Britain’s busiest ports let me tell you this: no one knows. We don’t know what the export rules will be. And we don’t know what paperwork will be involved.

This is worrying. Recent papers leaked from the Department for Transport say there is “clear and present danger” to UK supply chains. For this reason, businesses should take a fresh look at how they move freight to and from Europe.

So what can be done? At Portico we have a solution. Companies looking to secure their supply chain in the event of a disruptive Brexit can make use of a potential new service to central Europe.

We want to open a new short-sea container route from Portsmouth to Antwerp. The route is a fantastic alternative for exporters and a phenomenal addition to UK supply chains in its own right. It avoids existing routes that are congested enough already and complements Portsmouth’s extensive list of existing roll-on, roll-off services to western France and Spain.

The journey from Portsmouth to Antwerp takes just 14 to 16 hours and has a long list of advantages.

For starters, the destination is Antwerp, one of Europe’s major ports. Antwerp offers multi-modal links; containers can be moved on by rail, road or river. The location is terrific. You get your cargo closer to where it’s going. Portico statistics

The speed of processing at Portico is rapid. We eliminate waiting. Our automatic gates will welcome lorries the moment they arrive. Come in, drop your cargo and leave. All the paperwork can be precleared, so there’s nothing to do on-site. The concept of hauliers sitting in their cabs waiting in queues is eliminated.

Portsmouth is convenient for much of the UK. The M275 goes to our door. The A3 goes direct to London and the M3 connects the Midlands. This location means the nightmare of circumnavigating London to get your freight where it needs to go using the M25 is gone. No more “road to hell”.

The service will be Brexit ready. Our customs team is highly experienced, with years of dealing with documentation for non-European Union destinations. For example, half of all the bananas in the UK arrive at Portsmouth, coming from Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

Plus, we are an officially Authorised Economic Operator. This means we are approved by HM Revenue & Customs to handle customs paperwork and approve documents ourselves. This saves a lot of time for customers.

Our message to logistics professionals is to take another look at Portsmouth. With or without Brexit, we offer a real alternative.

At Portico, we manage the international cargo terminal at Portsmouth Port. We are friendly and approachable. It’s much easier to get hold of who you want here directly. And we are expanding. Our latest £15-million expansion is just the latest in a long list of upgrades to keep us at the cutting edge.

By 2030, the port will be carbon neutral, which is important for companies that track their carbon footprint. New ships for western routes are being introduced by Brittany Ferries in the coming years, which are powered by liquefied natural gas, and we’ve already switched to a fleet of electric forklifts at Portico.

The new route itself is eco friendly. The journey to Antwerp cuts out an awful lot of road miles. For example, if a vessel takes 200 containers to Antwerp, that’s 200 vehicle journeys off the road.

The service to Antwerp is something the supply chain industry is crying out for. It’s fast, convenient, eco friendly and ideal for companies looking for an alternative. We are ready. If you are too, get in touch. We’d love to talk.

To learn more about the new Portsmouth to Antwerp route, please contact Ben Harraway and his team by calling 023 9289 0600 or by emailing commercial.enquiries@porticoshipping.com

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