USA ro-ro on the way?
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THE POPULARITY of rollon /roll-off services is still growing; even a Channel Tunnel is likely only to obtain a share of increasing trade between Britain and the Continent.
There are, of course, now several ro-ro ferries to the Middle East and at the recent
Chartered Institute of Transport/Financial Times transport conference (CM, October. 13), one speaker forecast the start of a ro-ro service on the North Atlantic within the next decade. Said Peter Thompson, chief executive of the National Freight Corporation: "The trend of the ro-ro haulier going to sea will continue, In the meantime a ro-ro link between the UK and Venezuela may start quite soon. BFI Line, already well-known for its involvement with UK Nigeria ro-ro services, has reported that a recent initial sailing to Venezuela from the port of Immingham was -well supported".
The line, which has been exploring the market possibilities for some months, acted as loading broker for the recent trial sailing of the ro-ro ferry Cantaclaro, operated by Rocargo of Venezuela.
The 3,000 dwt ferry sailed for the Venezuelan port of La Guaira with a mix of containerised and rolling cargo. She was loaded at the Immingham ro-ro terminal operated by Tor Line, for its North Sea ferry services; Tor Line also acted as stevedoring agent for the vessel's call.
BFI Line commercial manager Peter Ritchie indicated that his company is confident of a genuine demand for a ro-ro link with Venezuela.
Drawing comparisons with the Nigerian market, Mr Ritchie pointed out that similar problems of fast growth and limited port facilities are present in Venezuela. "Based on its extensive Nigerian experience, BFI is confident that ro-ro provides the best answer in meeting
Venezuela's import shipping needs, with the system's inherent flexibility as the vital factor,he added.
BFI is expecting that the Rocargo service from the UK will grow to become a regular link with Venezuela.
Nearer home the Zeeland Steamship Company's largest
ship entered service on the Harwich/Hook of Holland route in June this year. It's the 9,000-1 ton Prinses Beatrix, named after the heir presumptive to the Dutch throne; it cost £20m, and can carry 44hgv plus cars.
The new vessel, the flagship of the Zeeland fleet operating across the North Sea in conjunction with British Rail's 8,987-ton St Edmund, has a service speed of 21 knots.
r But the present operating partnership between British Rail
and P and 0 Ferries, trading under the name of Coastlink on the H,eysham / Belfast route, is being terminated at the end of this year by mutual consent. However, BR Sealink will, for December 16, 1978 continue the operation of the service which will, from January 2, 1979, be augmented by the introduction of a second ro-ro vessel, the Dalriada. It will join the Penda — providing an increase in sailings to two per day in each direction, including an evening sailing from Heysham.
From December 16 this year Sealink is transferring its shipping operators in Belfast from York Docks to Donegall Quay, so providing better terminal facilities. A new sailing schedule is tailored to suit hauliers' needs and provides for early morning deliveries in Ulster as well as evening departure times from Belfast.
The rothe's carrying capacity for accompanied lorries will be further increased from mid1979 with the introduction of the my Ulidia which can accommodate 36 lorry drivers.
Inquiries for the HeyshamBelfast service are being handled by the Sealink sales offices in London and the main provincial centres and in Northern Ireland by John Hannah at Belfast, TiOn edal I Quay.
Ferries going further distances include a ro-ro service operated from Barry to Lagos, Nigeria, by Ramses Line AS for which John Cory (Shipping) Ltd is the main UK agent. Sailings take place monthly, and inquiries should be made to John Cory's Barry Office, Ferry Terminal, No 3 Dock, Barry, Glamorgan.
Then Cory Brothers, in addition to their Dunkirk service (see Ferry Guide page 38) also run a fortnightly service from Felixstowe via Alexandria, Piraeus and Limassol to Naples. Notice time required is 72 hours, and maximum journey time 14 days; contact Cory Brothers, Powell Duffryn House, Dock Estate, Felixstowe. tel Felixstowe (03942) 78822, telex 98434.
Staying in the Mediterranean, the Governments of Syria and Greece have signed an agreement for promoting ferry links.
Soutos Hellas Ferry Services Co Ltd started a ro-ro service last week between the Greek port of Volos and Syria. It has seven sailings each way every month, with the my Hellas, which has a bow door permitting lorries to enter through one door and exit through the other.
The price for the passage will be $100 per linear metre, including -passage of the full truckfrom Volos to Syria, return of the empty truck from Syria to Volos and free accommodation and food for the driver-.
The operator of the service is .Hellas-Syria Express Ferry Services Co Ltd.
The general sales agent and booking office for the service isSoutos Hellas Ferry Services Co Ltd, Efplias 2, Piraeus, telephone numbers 4531.7464 5 3 1 . 7 0 3 4 5 1 0 . 4 1 0 4531.308; telexes. 21 3166 SHMAGR, 213010 SOUT GR., 21 2467 SPSR.GR.
Glover Brothers (London) Ltd, 89 New Street, Bishopsgate, London (tel 01-623 1311; telex 886907) is the agent for a large number of services from Felixstowe.
A weekly service to Jeddah takes 11 days. Fortnightly services leave for Aqaba (10 days); Dammam (18 days); and Dubai (16 days).
Monthly services go to Hodeidah. (16 days), Bandar Shahpour (24 days), Kuwait (20 days); Port Sudan (13 days); and Tripoli, Libya (8 days).
All these nine services go via Rotterdam and Antwerp.
Coaches can score over freight when it comes to speed and Seaspeed hovercraft at Dover have up to nine -flightsto Calais and up to eleven to Boulogne every day. The trips take around 40 minutes only — contact Seaspeed Hovercraft, Maybrook House, Queens Gardens, Dover, Kent; phone 01606 3681 or Dover (0304) 208288.