Healthy UK-EU Trade as Container Traffic Increases


The UK’s Department for Transport has revealed that container traffic with the European Union rose 9% to 3.6 million TEU, while container exports rose by 11% to 2.1 million TEUs.

Dominating the statistics is a 31% year on year increase in exports to Germany, receiving 0.5 million TEU in 2016.

The Netherlands still receives the majority of the UK’s container traffic at 1.2 million TEU in total during 2016, but its share fell 7% to 32% of total container traffic.

Transhipment accounts for some of this traffic, which passes through ports like Rotterdam before moving outside of the Netherlands.

Container traffic between the UK and International deep-sea destinations rose to 5.3 million TEUs, up 3% from 2015.

China is the UK’s largest partner for container traffic in 2016, resulting in 2.5 million TEUs, up 3% from 2015.

In second place is the US with 0.4 million TEUs.

Shipping Container 101: Ocean Freight and Cargo

However, the UK’s 51 major ports’ overall total freight tonnage declined by 3% in 2016.

The UK government said this was due to “a significant reduction in demand for coal imports”.

But despite this, the UK ports’ unitised traffic saw its fourth consecutive year of growth in 2016.

In total, UK ports handled 484.0 million tonnes in 2016, down 3% from 2015.

A majority of this freight, 472.8 million tonnes, came through major ports.

Major port coal tonnage handled fell 53% from 2015, to 12.0 million tonnes in 2016, reflecting reduced demand.

Port Freight traffic tonnage reached 24.1 million units in 2016, a rise of 2%, while container traffic rose by 3% to 5.9 million units — or 10.2 million TEU — in a record high.

A joint venture of British LNG supply company Flogas and Associated British Ports has become the first to bunker a ship with LNG in the UK.

See the Department for Transport's full report

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