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Waste exporters could face a 'cargo war'

Exporters of waste could be set for a head on war for space and transportation at shipping ports around the world.

With containers now the preferred method of transport and more people around the globe requiring goods, this has led to a situation where mayhem could break out on docksides.

Port and Transport Consulting managing director Honore Paelinck said: Handling large volumes off large ships will create serious problems in ports. If they already have sufficient reception and storage capacity for the incoming numbers, will they be able to do it at the speed you require?

And will they be in a position to evacuate these volumes from the port to the final destination? Congestion can exist from the seaside in ports, but it can also appear on land.

Paelinck suggests that port capacity has been limited due to tediously slow handling of cargos. But while this has improved, space is now at a premium. Green thinking is said to have put the brakes on the expansion of port areas.

Containers of recyclables do not only have to fight with each other on docksides, but panic has been created with large international players such as P&O and Maersk looking to take over major portions in strategic locations.

As the amount of goods moving around the world increases, this then creates another problem.

More containers need a larger capacity of shipping and larger ships result in a lower unit cost price. So ships grow bigger and ship owners order still more ships when the world and Asian production machine keeps on pouring out products, Paelinck added.

The major problem created here is that the general flow is 100 boxes leaving from Asia to Western Europe compared to 60 going in the opposite direction.

With companies reluctant to ship empty containers back, those who send consignments of recyclables could be left with the headache of seeing their cargo sat for longer periods on the dockside as ships wait to fill.

This is illustrated with the fact that to satisfy the rising shipping capacity offered, cargo needs to increase by 15% each year. At the moment it is only rising by 7%, meaning that the export of waste from these shores could be set for challenging times.


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