Water freight fights back

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					Digital Re-print - November | December 2009
Feature title: Water freight fights back

Grain & Feed Milling Technology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2009 Perendale Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872

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Water freight

Feature

Feature

Water freight

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rain and other agricultural products were traditionally moved along the canals and rivers by barge and around the coast of the UK and to / from northwest Europe by ship. The advent of motorways and bigger lorries combined with inefficient port practices lead to rapid decline of the inland shipping routes and coastal trading although

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Before the economic downturn last year there was a noticeable resurgence of interest in the use of water freight and the initiative was swinging back. However a surplus of bulk haul lorries following industrial collapse in the second half of last year resulted in predatory pricing and the cost benefit swung back to road. However there is no doubt that water will play an increasing role in the future. The environmental arguments are convincing and the public will benefit from less road congestion. There are adequate ships available although there is a shortage of barges due to lack of investment over the past twenty years but this can be addressed. Moving grain by water reduces carbon (and other emissions) on

to Erith in the Thames. One of the by products is meal which is shipped to northern France for animal feed. The mill at Erith is an example of the benefits of siting plant adjacent to water. It can handle both import and exports and reduce the carbon footprint of its products substantially. An example of cargo that has switched from road to water is linseed from the south coast. One of the members of Freight by Water recently shipped 1200 tonnes of linseed from a small river berth on the south coast of England via canal to an inland destination in Belgium. Traditionally it moved by road. Specialist grain and grain products are also imported by water. Birdseed transhipped in Holland from Africa arrives at our east cost ports, so does rice from Houston and we are seeing a growing demand for organic products including animal feed. With the growing emphasis on sustainable energy, one new product to benefit from water freight is wheat feed (pelletised husks). At least ten new biofuel power plants are being constructed in the UK some of which are designed to consume wheat feed pellets. Some will come by

road but the mode shift to water will increase as volumes increase. An example being the Tate and Lyle plant at Silvertown in the Thames, which will import pellets from mills in Holland and also from mills at Manchester and Southampton in due course. Removing these lorry journeys from the road will have considerable environmental benefits in the requirement to produce “green energy”. The potential is considerable.

The mode shift to water is strongly supported by the Department for Transport through various grants and operating subsidies. Please contact our organisation, Freight by Water, which is available to assist potential applicants understand the options available. Furthermore we can provide information covering all aspects of water freight and considerable information is available on our website

by Tim Lowry, Chairman, Freight by Water, www.freightbywater.org

imports / exports to and from average by eighty percent when compared to road. When millers and others analyse Europe generally continued.

“There is no doubt that water will play an increasing role in the future. The environmental arguments are convincing and the public will benefit from less road congestion”
18 | november-december 2009

their carbon footprint we expect a significant return to water freight. The benefits are convincing. There are just over one hundred ports around the UK, all capable of handling grain. Smaller wharves along rivers and canals are serviced by ships some of which have self-load and self-discharge capability, cargo can also be transferred from one ship to another. An interesting example took place at Falmouth recently whereby 17000 tonnes of animal feed were transferred direct from a big importing ship (originating in Asia and having discharged 25000 tonnes in Europe en route) onward to five UK river and canal based wharves by coaster. Traditional ports remain active handling considerable milling wheat and barley shipments including exports from the Wash ports, the south coast ports of Southampton and Poole and others such as Avonmouth, Sharpness, Liverpool and Tilbury. Considerable volumes of feed wheat also go by water to Ireland and France. Some of the shipments are coastal. Examples being rapeseed from Scotland

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november-december 2009 | 19

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December

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In this issue:
• Smarter ingredient evaluation FOCUS: The Middle East & Africa Company profiles 2009-10

•	 New	mills? 	 Location,	transport	&	 other	considerations

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Description: Grain and other agricultural products were traditionally moved along the canals and rivers by barge and around the coast of the UK and to / from northwest Europe by ship. The advent of motorways and bigger lorries combined with inefficient port practices lead to rapid decline of the inland shipping routes and coastal trading although imports / exports to and from Europe generally continued.