Shortsea operator W.E.C. Lines is to start a new bi-weekly service linking the northern Spanish port of Bilbao with Teesport in the northeast of England, by-passing Dover, in a move that comes immediately before European Union (EU) customs regulations end, on 31 December 2020.
It is expected that the new service will cut delivery times, as well as take lorries off the road and will not be subject to the congestion found at Dover and Folkstone, in the United Kingdom's (UK) southeastern corner which handles most of the European continental traffic.
Headquartered in Rotterdam, W.E.C. Lines operates up to 10 vessels ranging from around 800TEU to 870TEU nominal capacity mainly on intra-European trades from the Red Sea to Portugal and Spain in the southwest and the UK, Netherlands and Belgium in the northwest. The company also calls at ports in East and North Africa.
Teesport, which is operated by PD Ports, will accept cargo from the Iberian Peninsular destined for retailers in the northeast of England, starting from 24 October.
Geoff Lippitt, PD Ports group business development director, said, “Our extensive road, rail and sea links at Teesport allow customers to move their cargo further and faster, via our fantastic onward connections to various major hub ports around Europe.”
W.E.C Lines UK was established in 2019, and Roger Megann, managing director W.E.C Lines UK explained that the new service is a response to the growing demand for multimodal services to the UK.
“W.E.C Lines is responding to market demand to bring containers closer to the cargo owner’s door,” said Megann, adding, “By removing road miles, cargo owners will be able to benefit from reduced costs, less congestion, lower emissions and improved control over their stock.”
According to a Teesport statement, continued investment at the port has enabled it to grow container volumes 10% a year over the last seven years from 2012-2019.