New freight shipping service links Grangemouth with rest of the world

A new container shipping route has been launched allowing Scotland’s largest exporters to service global markets.

The arrival of the Skylight container vessel into the Port of Grangemouth on the River Forth marked the maiden call of the Scottish Express (SCX) service secured with the CMA CGM Group and its subsidiary, Containerships.

The service, which will call into Grangemouth each Thursday, has been launched to principally support growing exports from Scotland’s largest exporters who transport produce from Leven and Shieldhall through the port and into Europe to service worldwide destinations.

The weekly route to mainland Europe, from Grangemouth via Teesport to Rotterdam, will be capable of handling some 20,000 containers per annum.

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Port bosses said the service would provide export and import customers with a regular additional call into mainland Europe each week through Scotland’s largest container port. The Port of Grangemouth aims to become a strategic site for a new Forth green freeport which will help to transform the facility into a major logistics, manufacturing, renewable energy hub and research and development (R&D) centre for the Scottish and UK economies.

Derek Knox, head of operations, Scottish ports, at owner Forth Ports, said: “The new Scottish Express service is great news for Grangemouth and for Scotland. The Port of Grangemouth plays a key role in Scotland’s logistics and freight sector and this new weekly call will increase the frequency of vessels connecting to mainland Europe and we welcome the team from CMA CGM and Containerships to our container terminal.

“The additional shipping capacity created from this new direct freight service to Europe will play a key role in fulfilling the demands of the Scottish market trading with European and International destinations. This further supports our ambitions to deliver a Forth green freeport where one of the key objectives of the policy is to develop trade.”

He added: “We are continuing to deliver our investment programme in Grangemouth with new equipment, an expanded container terminal and warehousing complex [and] linked freight rail terminal.”

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The Skylight docks at Grangemouth on her maiden Scottish Express voyage. Picture: Robert Perry

Grangemouth is operated by Edinburgh-headquartered Forth Ports, which owns and operates eight commercial ports in the UK – Tilbury on the Thames, Dundee on the Firth of Tay and six on the Firth of Forth – Leith, Grangemouth, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy.

James Leeson, general manager at CMA CGM UK, said: “This is an important addition to the Scottish market with a fixed day weekly service and increases Scotland’s connectivity to mainland Europe and beyond.

“We are committed to supporting economic growth within the areas we operate, and I am looking forward to continuing to work alongside Forth Ports as we expand our service offering in Scotland.”

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The Port of Grangemouth operates Scotland’s largest container port and handles in excess of 155,000 containers per annum.

More than £6 billion worth of goods passes through the facility each year including steel plate, timber, paper and equipment for the oil and gas industry. There are regular container services from Grangemouth with frequent daily sailings to Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe and Hamburg.

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