There are 8 CHAINPORT regions in Europe: Based on trade lane activity and connectivity between the main East-West and North –South trade routes and considering the number of established and large ports on the continent we have subdivided Europe into 8 sub-regions for Chain Port.


Ireland is home to 2 CHAINPORT member.The island of Ireland is the Westernmost part of the British Isles. Until quite recently it was largely an agri-economy and only its main port, Dublin, attracted calls for manufactured goods both in and out. Until the late 1980’s a number of service loops maintained direct calls to the Republic on General Cargo – Container mixed use vessels, but in more recent times, particularly over the last decade, raised fuel prices have meant that vessel operators on all trade lanes have considered the Republic as too great a diversion to justify on the basis of the relatively small amounts of cargo for the Republic, particularly as the majority of service loops on all trade lanes have become fixed day weekly services.


dublin_logoSituated on the Republic of Ireland’s East Coast, Dublin is currently the Republic’s busiest port of entry. However, as the diversion from all of the major trade lanes and service loops deployed on them is quite significant, Dublin connects to global trade largely via the Intra-European feeder network via Liverpool, Felixstowe, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Le Havre, or via road and short sea ro-ro ferries with a proportion of traffic entering the UK via Dover and connecting to the ferries which serve the Republic from the mainland of England and Wales.


cork_logoSituated on the south west coast of the Republic of Ireland the port of Cork has facilities to handle all types of cargo operation. The port has invested significantly in recent years to improve its facilities and attract new callers on both intra-European and deep sea trades. The port has also engaged with its community to develop a better port-city relationship and has invested in the development of more environmental technologies.


There are 2 CHAINPORT regions in the United Kingdom.The United Kingdom, once the factory of the world, has become one of Europe’s largest consumer markets. Its legacy as a centre of Empire in the colonial period means that shipping lines often decide without thinking that calls to mainland UK ports are a must. Certainly, the UK remains one of the top European countries for importation of manufactured goods from the Far East and for many years now, at least since the mid 1980s, the main draw back for lines with direct service loop calls into the UK has been the requirement to reposition empty equipment out of the UK. Having said that, on some trade lanes, the UK is still a net exporter and this is why it has been split into two CHAINPORT regions.

With very different trade lane connections the British Isles is further split into West and East Coasts.

The West Coast of the British Isles has a long legacy of trade with the Americas, particularly into Canada and the Northern range of ports on the East Coast of the United States. It also has a tradition of being servicing direct callers on service loops engaged on the Caribbean and West Coast of South America trade lanes.

Peel-ports-logoSituated in North Western England, the port has a legacy of port activity and innovation stretching back several hundreds of years. As the centre of gravity for world trade has shifted in recent decades, Liverpool has had to innovate and develop new ways of both holding onto its market share on its traditional trade lane to the East Coast of North America and attract new callers engaged in the same and related trade lanes. Liverpool has invested heavily in new facilities and a new container terminal and has also seen the development in recent years of a vibrant maritime industries cluster.
bristolBristol – located at the mouth of the River Avon and in the estuary of the river Severn, Bristol also has a significant legacy of trading with the Americas. However, it did not adapt to changes in cargo handling methods as quickly as did Liverpool and, as a result, lost significant market share to its more northerly neighbour. A reformation of the port’s ownership and governance on the early 1990s has ushered in a new era for the port of Bristol and after more than 20 years this is now really starting to bear fruit and today it promotes itself as follows: Britain’s most centrally located deep sea port and can handle vessels up to 130,000 dwt. Bristol is (purports itself) to be recognised as the most economical port distribution location in the UK being able to access a population of 45 million people within a 300km radius. Bristol has the best motorway access. Both Avonmouth and Portbury have their own dedicated motorway junctions on the M5 – just seven miles from the M4 interchange and the second Severn crossing. Both Royal Portbury and Avonmouth Docks are rail connected. Bristol’s entire 2,600 acre dock estate is zoned for industrial use and can offer spacious sites adjacent to the Port.
shampton_logolocated on the Solent along England’s south coast Southampton is connected to a number of trade lanes. It is the UK’s number one cruise vessel destination but has always played second fiddle to one or other of the UK’s other ports when it comes to handling of dry goods cargo. In the past it was second to London and in more recent years, since the 1980s it has been second to Felixstowe. Southampton now faces a new challenge to maintain its market share as the centre of gravity for cargo looks to shift more to the east coast with the advent of the London Gateway terminal on the river Thames.
The East Coast of the UK has for long been the centre of UK trade with mainland Europe and with what was the Eastern and African British Empire in the Colonial era. The port of London had been at the heart of this and had been the busiest port in the world for nearly 300 years. The advent of containerisation, the end of empire, etc. and the industrial relations difficulties of the 1960s-1980s saw a shift from London to mainland Europe for overall trade and a shift from London to Felixstowe for trade into/out of the UK, but still the greatest amount of imports to the UK, particularly from the Far East on the main East-West trade lane, are handled through ports on the East Coast of the British Isles.


LtilburyTilbury is the current inheritor of the legacy of the Port of London. Now owned by Forth Ports Ltd. it has, since 1968 decreased in importance for the main Far-East to Europe trade lane but, through the provision of excellent chilled goods reception facilities and a disproportionately large number of on terminal RFR plugs, has retained its importance as a direct call port on the North-South trade lanes to Africa and Australasia. It has also retained importance as the closest port of entry for central London on the Intra-European feeder service loops.


felixstoweThe Port of Felixstowe is currently the UK’s busiest container port with a throughput that is approximately as large as all other container handling ports in the UK put together. Its rise as a major port began with the industrial relations problems that developed in the UK’s established ports (Liverpool, London and Southampton) with the advent of containerisation and, being outside the National Dock Labour Scheme, its dominance was sealed in the National Dock Strikes of the early and mid 1980s. The port operates an impressive intermodal rail exchange and is connected by road to the industrial heartlands of the Midlands and the North by the A14 trunk road which crosses or joins with all the major motorways radiating northwards from the London Orbital M25.


london_gwayThe London Gateway Terminal is a new comer to the UK port scene. Situated at the redundant oil terminal of Shell Haven on the northern shore of the Thames Estuary, this new terminal takes advantage of the deep water that was necessary for the oil tankers that used to call here and the shorter Pilotage time (Tilbury = 4 or 5 hours Pilotage, London Gateway = 2-3 hours Pilotage) to berth to market itself as the new major gateway port to the UK’s largest consumer market in London. It has been built to service the largest container vessels deployed today and, as a new development, has incorporated many of the automation innovations and operating innovations that have happened (at great cost in nearby established ports) at its outset. As yet, the port has not had a major impact on other East Coast Ports, but it has started attracting mainline services away from Tilbury on a permanent contractual basis and has handled vessels that would normally have called Felixstowe on an ad hoc basis when Felixstowe has been congested. The port has excellent road and rail connections to London and beyond and, on the back of this connectivity, has ambitions to develop the large off dock areas of land that it owns for portcentric value add logistics services.


pd_ports_logolocated in North East England, Teesport has moved from mainly handling coal and steel products to a new role as the port centric distribution hub for some major retail suppliers across the North East of the UK. However, most callers at this time are still feedering from other main hub ports both on continental Europe and in the UK.


Scandinavia is 1 CHAINPORT region. Scandinavia is mostly connected to international and transcontinental trade lanes via feedering operations from hub ports in continental north and west Europe. However, there is beginning to be more direct connectivity with some trade lanes as some vessel operators send larger vessels north around Denmark to call direct at ports in the Baltic Sea and others take advantage of the deep water available to make a direct call for special and high value cargo which might otherwise be at risk due to draft restrictions at some of the river based ports in northern Europe.


PortGbg_payoff_CMYKSituated in Sweden it is an important port of call for the auto trade and allows direct access for containerised goods via some excellent rail connections to the entire Scandinavian region (70% of Scandinavian industry is within 500KM of the port). The port has received awards for its port-city relationship and for its ‘green’ credentials.


copenhagen_logoThe Port of Oslo is Norway's leading cargo and ferry port. On an ordinary day 50 to 70 ships sail in and out of the port with passengers and cargo. Half of the Norwegian population lives less than a three hour drive from the Port of Oslo. It has good rail connectivity within a short distance and the main road runs almost right into the port. It operates state-of-the-art, efficient cargo terminals and nearly 6 million travellers each year use the port. There are three daily ferry arrivals from Denmark and Germany serving the Scandinavian and North European regions. The Port of Oslo is an intermodal port that is able to handle all types of cargo and is the leading cargo and passenger port in Norway. Water depth is up to 11 meters at quay.


north_europe_mapThere is 1 CHAINPORT member in the North Europe region. There are several North European ports, all of which lay claim to pretty much the same hinterland. All are extremely well connected by road, rail and water to a vast area stretching from Northern Italy in the south to the Urals in the east.







ham_logoA major port of call for many service loops deployed on a number of trade lanes and the most easterly port of call for many service loops. Hamburg carries legacy status as a port with historic importance, a large local industrial base generating cargo and the status of a modern hub port for cargo moving to Eastern Europe by rail and water routes and to Scandinavia by sea. Hamburg’s advantages as a port of call and a major logistics and distribution node easily outweigh the disadvantage of a 7 hour Pilotage for most vessel operators.


rotterdam_logo_245As with Hamburg, Rotterdam lays claim to a hinterland that stretches from the Urals in the East, to the Atlantic in the West and from Northern Italy in the South to the Baltic Sea in the North. It has become a main North European hub centre for a number of the world’s largest container shipping lines who have co-invested in terminal developments there and it is surrounded by the majority of Holland’s major industries. Situated at the estuary of one of Europe’s major river systems and with deep water docks for handling of all types of cargo that stretch from the Hook of Holland at Maasvlakte right into the heart of the City of Rotterdam some 30km away, the Port of Rotterdam offers all water services to the heart of continental Europe, excellent rail connectivity and connection to Europe’s motorway network right from the terminal gates. Rotterdam also leverages additional callers by offering the cheapest bunker fuel oil prices in the European port range.


dun_logoDunkirk is France's third-ranking port, Dunkirk is well known as a port handling heavy bulk cargoes for its numerous industrial installations. It has also built its reputation in other sectors such as cross-Channel Ro-Ro traffic to Great Britain, containers, fruit, etc. Classified as the 7th port of the North Europe – North Western Europe port Range which extends from Le Havre to Hamburg, it is also France's leading port for ore and coal imports; France's leading port for containerised fruit imports; France's leading port for copper imports; and France's second-ranking port for trade with Great Britain.


brem_logoBremerhaven is situated at the mouth of the river Weser and was developed to capture vessel calls and maintain the position of the historical port of Bremen as container vessels became larger in size and deeper in draft, too deep to allow Bremen itself to service without significant and costly dredging operations.The story of Bremerhaven Container Terminal began in February 1968 when construction work began on a 700-metre long quay. After four expansion projects (latterly Container Terminal 4) the impressive terminal location has meanwhile grown to a total length of almost five kilometres. The world’s longest coherent riverside quay now has 14 berths for mega-container vessels. As the fourth-largest container terminal in Europe, Bremerhaven is one of the leading transhipment hubs for intermodal import and export traffic. Bremerhaven also has a large automobile handling capability. Bremerhaven is one of the largest automobile hubs anywhere in the world. In peak years, it handles more than two million vehicles. There are operating and storage areas for 120,000 cars, including covered storage for 45,000 vehicles. It also offers finishing, repair and retrofitting services, installs individual special equipment or attends to final assembly.


wil_logo_245Wihelmshaven is a near neighbour of Bremerhaven and competes for much the same market. The Jadeweser port at Wilhelmshaven offers depth alongside of 18m with a quay length of 1725m. The geographical location, the unique water depth of 18 m and the approach of 23 nautical miles make Wilhelmshaven predestined for Offshore –Activities. The very good links to the rail network and the motorway form the basis for logistics. An inexpensive settlement offers additional advantages. There are areas in the inner harbour and within the terminal area of the new Eurogate container terminal for transhipment, storage and pre-assembly which are available and can be extended.


west_europe_mapThere is 1 CHAINPORT member in the West Europe region For West Europe, the choice for Chain Port candidates becomes narrowed as the density of major ports decreases as one moves West from the conglomeration of ports at the mouths of or up river on the major European waterways which empty into the North Sea. We basically have Zeebrugge, Dunkirk and Le Havre and the choice is really already made as to our candidate in this port range by having Zeebrugge as a founding member.


zeebrugge_logo_245Zeebrugge acts as a disrupter for Antwerp, drawing on the same hinterland, inland waterway and rail networks but without the draft issues or the six hour Pilotage. Zeebrugge is not yet a major port of call for all service loops deployed on trade lanes East-West and North-South, but if its growth strategy is pursued to its logical conclusion, there is no reason why it should not become one.


ant_logoAntwerp is at a cross roads for the global supply chains. Situated on the river Scheldt approx 6 hours Pilotage up river, Antwerp has been chosen as a main hub port by MSC. It offers a range of integrated maritime and logistics solutions and is connected, behind one of Europe’s largest lock systems, to the continental inland waterway system. Antwerp has been an innovator in automatic planning systems and terminal operating systems and continues to innovate in the area of green energy production using especially the tidal range and water level differences between the open river and the dock system that lies behind its lock gates to generate hydro-electricity.


logoThis port is the busiest of the French ports and has a long history of serving trade routes, particularly the Trans-Atlantic routes with cargo sources locally, from Paris and, more recently, from Southern France as well. Building from an historic base inside Le Havre’s lock gates, containerisation has pushed operations outside the lock gates to the Quai Des Ameriques (the legacy is in the name) and most recently to a new complex called the Terminal De France. Le Havre has grown and developed with the trade and has improved its inland links via water and rail to access an ever increasing hinterland. The new terminal TDF can handle the largest vessels deployed on this trade lane (and pretty much every other vessel on every other trade lane except for the EEE class). Boosted by its links with DPW in recent years, it imported additional expertise from what was P and O Ports and made major improvements to operational processes and productivity. The service levels at Le Havre have improved beyond recognition in the last 10 years – in 2004 at least 4 major Vessel Sharing Agreements’ sets of partners were seriously considering dropping calls at Le Havre due to poor service levels, port and terminal congestion and poor industrial relations, one VSA did leave, two suspended calls pending improvements for 6 months and one, for national reasons, stayed, but introduced a system of cut and run on every vessel in order to guarantee sailing times and maintain schedule, today all of them have returned to Le Havre completely and are enjoying service reliability that was pretty much unimaginable back in 2004.


There is 1 CHAINPORT member in the West Mediterranean region. Liner services choose ports in this region on various loops and on the different trade lanes in large part due to their connectivity with other services operated by the same shipping lines or their feeder networks to other port connections around the Western Mediterranean. For example, Tangier has grown enormously in the last 8 years for its use as a connector to the North-South trade lane to West and South Africa, its ability to connect both North-South trade and East-West trade to the Caribbean and US Gulf states and its challenge to Algeciras on productivity, price, etc. However, for the purposes of Chain Port we are looking at ports who ‘do’ logistics, which means a significant local cargo base rather than a near pure transhipment operation.


valencia_logoValencia is both a legacy port and a modern hub with a very significant local cargo base and some of the best inland connectivity to Spain’s major consumer markets. The Global Institute is familiar with Valencia and identified it as a global leader in total quality port systems and port cluster governance during earlier knowledge missions and the development of the port cluster governance papers.


barcelona_logoBarcelona, another port that has a long history connecting with North-South and East-West trade lanes with good connectivity to other ports in the Mediterranean via an established network of intra-Mediterranean feeders, a significant local cargo base and good links into neighbouring France and to the main consumer markets of Spain. As with Valencia, Barcelona has a long tradition of engagement on all trade lanes which operate service loops into the Mediterranean but has also updated and upgraded to maintain and improve its situation and forge new links with new service loops and developing trade lanes.


marseilleFos/Marseille has in the past been much more important than it is now. Intermodal links from North Europe have eaten into its share of the market with a significant amount of what used to pass through Marseille to the Americas now taking the northern service loops through Le Havre, Dunkirk and other North Continental ports. Significant industrial relations problems over the last decade have also damaged the port’s reputation and seen cargo moving over other nearby ports. The container terminals at Fos have seen a more recent boost largely associated with the growth of local carrier CMA-CGM and that line’s massive growth on the Asia-Europe trade lane.


genevaGenoa faces stiff competition from the nearby Italian ports of La Spezia and Livorno, although a number of service loops call at both Genoa and La Spezia or at Genoa and Livorno. Genoa’s hinterland for regional cargo is quite local but overlaps that of both La Spezia and Livorno. It does have good rail and ContshipItalia have developed new, modern container terminal facilities at Voltri. However, as Voltri is outside the historical (and sheltered) harbour areas, these new facilities are hampered in their ability to grow by being exposed and losing quite a lot of time each year to high wind velocities.


La Speziat_logo_La Spezia is geographically very close to both Genoa and Livorno. It offers a large well sheltered harbour surrounded by high hills. There is a great deal of local industry which generates the majority of the local cargo base. Because of the improvements in intermodal links and increased use of hubbing over other West Med hubs or through Gioia Tauro, the importance of La Spezia as a direct call port on this trade lane in recent years.


livorno-logoLivorno is again geographically very close to both La Spezia and Genoa and shares much of its hinterland with them. Under the ownership of ContshipItalia, its main container terminal has undergone significant modernisation and has seen improvements in security and operational process and efficiency. This has enabled the port to retain a greater number of direct callers on this trade lane


naples_logoNaples is a legacy port of call. Container traffic movements in the Port of Naples are carried out in Bausan and Flavio Gioia Docks, Pollena Quay and occasionally at Vittorio Emanuele Dock. Currently, in the Port of Naples there are two specialised terminals for lo-lo and ro-ro unloading. Container movements have grown continuously over the last 10 years, and the Port of Naples promotes itself as one of the most dynamic ports in the Mediterranean area. Plans are well advanced for the construction of the New Dock which will double the existing area available, and will benefit from the presence of 8 super post-panamax cranes and a 660 metre quay frontage. Naples hopes that this will attract super post panamax direct callers, but will have to contend with the fact that a Naples call engages a substantial deviation for vessels deployed on the Asia-Europe trade lane where the largest vessels are deployed.


gio_toroGioia Tauro is a relatively new port and a transhipment hub for direct callers on service loops deployed various trade lanes. It marks the most Easterly point for what could be defined as West Mediterranean callers. There is little local cargo at present, but Gioia Tauro is building on this having learnt hard lessons about the fickleness of the transhipment business in the mid noughties. This port is pretty much the most Easterly Mediterranean port of call for direct calling service loops deployed on the Trans-Atlantic trade lane. Most cargo headed further East will tranship either at Algeciras, Valencia, Barcelona or at Gioia Tauro for connection with other services and feeder networks which serve the Eastern Mediterranean directly. Vessels deployed on the Americas trade lane (northern and southern loops) almost all turn back west or north and west at Gioia Tauro.


algercisasAlgeciras has in recent years (within the last 15) become a major transhipment hub and an important call for service loops on all trade lanes to connect to/from North-South trade lanes and the mainlin Far-East to Europe trade lane. Another attraction for shipping lines at Algeciras is the plentiful supply of bunker fuel oils at all grades at some of the best prices in the region (price is often matched by supply at Gibraltar but is only really beaten by prices in the Rotterdam-Antwerp port range much further North). There is not a great local cargo base at Algeciras and most of the container traffic that it handles on all trade lanes will be on-shipped either into the western and eastern Mediterranean or on connecting services on North-South trade lane loops..


There is 1 CHAINPORT member in the East Mediterranean region The Eastern Mediterranean serves as a separate region for Chain Port because of its very different connectivities and the different service loops and trade patterns which are active in this region. There are a number of significant ports in the region but very few connect directly to the trade lane which is currently the main driver of global trade. We might mention the ports of Port Said East and Port Said West at the head of the Suez Canal, but both of these ports are largely transhipment operations connecting the Eastern Mediterranean via smaller vessels to the main Asia-Europe-Asia trade lane. There is also Damietta and Alexandria serving the Egyptian market, Ashdod and Haifa serving the Israeli market, Limassol in Cyprus, Izmir, Kumport and Istanbul in Turkey, Piraeus in Greece and Venice, Brindisi and Tarranto in Italy. Unfortunately, political instability has seen ports in the Lebanon and Syria decline significantly.

Out of the main East Mediterranean ports, perhaps the one that lends itself best to the idea of Chain Port in the region is Piraeus.


piraeus_logoThe main port serving Athens and one of the largest/busiest ports in the Mediterranean, Piraeus has a legacy as the main point of entry to the Greek market and as a major cross roads in the Eastern Mediterranean. Recent years have seen major investments in Cruise, Vehicle carriers (handling capacity) and the development of new container terminals. The port has also invested heavily in environmental protection and has launched a transparency initiative to make its activities and development more readily accessible to its customers and its surrounding community.


malta_logoMaritime activity centres on the 2 main Maltese ports, Valletta and Marsaxlokk, although a number of other ports occasionally host ships on international voyages, usually passenger vessels. Both are capable of providing a comprehensive package of maritime services including towage, salvage, pilotage, victualling and provisions of all kinds of stores and supplies. Malta’s ports are, with minimal diversion, able to serve the main East-West trade lane and act as a connector between the East Mediterranean and the West Mediterranean areas. These ports provide a wide variety of professional shipping services of value to major commercial entities. Malta once served as a connector between North-South trade direct to Australia/New Zealand, East-West trade to/from the Far East and Intra-Mediterranean feeder trades to North Africa, Italy, Southern France, etc. but lost out to other ports in the region due to congestion, productivity and price.


istanbul_logoFor centuries Istanbul has been at the cross roads for trade between Europe and Asia, both overland and by sea. It is a legacy destination and connector port for services into the Black Sea, Southern Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine as well as a hub for cargo bound for the Levant and a major port for trade between Southern and Southeastern Europe and Egypt. Istanbul has developed more modern terminal facilities in recent years and invested heavily on the basis that direct service calls to the Black Sea would come on the Far-East to Europe trade lane, however, the increase in fuel prices and a drop in freight rates has meant that shipping lines failed to increase the number of service loops calling direct into East Mediterranean and Black Sea ports and in fact reduced the number of main line direct call loops, preferring instead to serve this trade via transhipment over Port said East.


izmirIzmir is Turkey’s leading port for exports (of interest is that it is referred to as Smyrna in the Bible) and, until the more recent revitalisation of port services at Istanbul, was Turkey’s leading port throughout the mid 1980s and through the 1990s. It has developed facilities for container handling and competes for trade directly with Istanbul.


venice-logoVenice is located at the head of the Adriatic sea and has been the beneficiary of the EC Motorways of the Sea project. The port has 7 commercial terminals, 1 passenger terminal and 19 other terminals form the Port of Venice. They handle all kinds of traffic, from containers, to liquid and solid bulk, steel products, Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax, general and project cargo. The Port of Venice is the only port in Italy directly connected to Europe’s inland waterway network and has its own inland waterways terminal.


taranto_logoSituated only 172 nautical miles from the main shipping route between Gibraltar and the Suez Canal, in a strategic location along the main trade lanes between Eastern and Western markets, the port promotes itself as the ideal port of call for commercial shipping between Europe and the rest of the World, as well as for national and European cabotage and Short Sea shipping. The Port of Taranto on the north coast of the Gulf of Taranto, is a natural harbour embracing a wide sheltered bay, Mar Grande, and a smaller inlet, Mar Piccolo. The commercial port and industrial port are situated on the northwest shore of Mar Grande, with the most recent facilities – the container terminal and Pier 5 – just outside the western breakwater. The container terminal has been developed to attract vessels deployed on the main Far-East to Europe trade lane with the aim of raising Taranto to a hub port status via transhipment to/from the Eastern Mediterranean and to eat into Gioia Tauro’s market share of transhipment activity.