Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 732 - 739)




  732. May I apologise for keeping you waiting. Might I record the appreciation of the Committee for your hospitality and it was extremely kind of you to invite us to visit and to have a look around Immingham. I think we found it all very educational and we are very grateful to you. I would like to put that on the record, if I may, not least because it has given me the opportunity to tell everyone that I have been on holiday to Cleethorpes. Can I ask you, firstly, to identify yourselves for the record?
  (Mr Dunn) I am Dennis Dunn, Director of Associated British Ports.
  (Mr Lerenius) I am Bo Lerenius, Group Chief Executive, Associated British Ports.
  (Mr Cuthbert) I am Steve Cuthbert, Chief Executive, Port of London Authority.
  (Rear Admiral Bruce Richardson) I am Bruce Richardson, Chief Harbour Master, Port of London Authority.

  733. If you agree silence, please, if you do not agree if you could indicate. What extent does the demand for port services currently exceed supply?
  (Mr Dunn) Madam Chairman, I think that there is a need for development in the deep sea container business in roll-on and roll-off and in some areas in the handling of bulk materials. As we have already heard there are many ports around, and I suppose some of those are unused, but there are particularly feeder developments in these areas and there are forecasted shortages of capacity.

  734. Are there particular geographical areas under pressure?
  (Mr Dunn) In the deep sea business around the South and South East of the country. Because of the nature of the shipping line in the country and in North Europe there is a natural point where they would like to be able to make a United Kingdom call, that is to do with the natural routing of the ship and the diversion factors. They do not divert too far on the roll-on and roll-off, that tends to be down the East coast, may be a little down the South Coast.

  735. Are there other sectors that you can identify that you think are under pressure?
  (Mr Dunn) Some bulk areas, for example you did see in the Humber that we have some developments, although we are very strong in that area we are forecasting growth requirements up there, so in that area there is a need.

  736. Is that the area where you would expect expansion in the future?
  (Mr Dunn) Yes, it is.

  737. Mr Cuthbert?
  (Mr Cuthbert) I would just endorse what Dennis said about deep sea container trade. I believe by 2004-05 the UK will have effectively run out of container capacity in the southern part of Britain unless a major deep sea container terminal is constructed by then.

  738. Will that capacity be met at the ports that already handle container traffic?
  (Mr Cuthbert) There are three major projects on the stocks. One is Dibden Bay which ABP are promoting, one is the redevelopment of Shell Haven on the Thames which is to be developed by P&O Ports, obviously with us encouraging them to do that, and Hutchison have announced the proposed development of Bathside Bay which is in the Harwich area. My view is that at least two of those container terminals will be needed within a ten to 15 year period.

  739. Do you agree the resources have been concentrated largely in the bigger ports?
  (Mr Cuthbert) For these particular ships a deep water access is needed, economies of scale are needed and, unless somebody else can come up with an alternative, I would say that the sites for all those have to be in the Harwich area, in the Thames and indeed in Southampton, they are the logical places.

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