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            october 15, 2019

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TCL continues to defy market conditions


Terminal de Contentores de Leixoes SA (TCL), the Leixoes-based terminal operating company in Portugal, continues to defy market conditions and is hoping to carry its successes through to its latest investment in Ferrol, according to the UK's Port Strategy.
While other terminals in the Iberian Peninsula report dramatic traffic losses due to the economic downturn, TCL has bucked the trend and has been able to report 12 consecutive years of rising traffic.
Last year, it registered throughput of 512,281 TEU, equivalent to growth of 6.2 per cent, and this year, despite the economy in Portugal requiring substantial financial support from the IMF, first quarter traffic was again moving upward, with throughput amounting to 137,039 TEU, an increase of more than 11 per cent over the same period in 2011.
In many respects, the terminal has reaped the rewards of a dredging programme, which has enabled a former feeder port to nowadays accept panamax container vessels. However, TCL has also established an enviable record for productivity, which has kept shipping lines coming back year after year.
Last year, TCL was awarded a 35-year concession to operate the new container terminal at the north-western Spanish port of El Ferrol. Although some Spanish companies had initially indicated a willingness to bid, in the end, TCL was the only company to respond positively to the international tender.
Development of the terminal will be carried out in phases, with the first phase scheduled to be operational by the first half of 2013. According to Lopo Feijo, TCL and Ferrol Container Terminal managing director, El Ferrol will have to be both a transhipment hub and import-export port, if it is to succeed.
"The government of Galicia is very interested in promoting development of the region around Ferrol, which already has several significant and powerful industries located there. These currently have to make use of other ports, especially that of neighbouring La Coruna, which has neither a dedicated container terminal nor plans to build one in the foreseeable future," said Mr Feijo.
"Ferrol Container Terminal is wholly owned by TCL and our aim is to introduce there the same management philosophy that has proved so successful at TCL in Leixoes. At the same time, we intend to take advantage of possible synergies between the two terminals."
He added that the main advantage of the new is that it will be the nearest deep sea terminal to the main shipping lane of any of the already busy northern European ports. "The opening of the new Panama Canal could also be an opportunity for us," he added. However, in the Phase I start up period, Mr Feijo predicts that traffic will be modest at best. "In the first two years of operation, we would expect to generate annual traffic of perhaps no more than 50,000 TEU," he said. Nevertheless, capacity will be much greater than this - in the region of 1.2 million TEU per year.

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