THE arrival of the largest container vessel ever to sail into the Tyne marks the start of a new shipping service linking South Shields and the Russian port of St Petersburg.
At 168m long and almost four times the capacity of most container ships visiting the port, the Calisto sailed into the record books as the biggest vessel ever handled at the port’s container terminal.
The German-owned ship, built in China in 2005, has a gross tonnage of 15,487 and the capacity to carry 1,578 containers.
She came into the Tyne for the first time on Saturday.
Managed by Seago Line, one of the world’s largest short-sea container operators and part of the giant Maersk Group, the route will operate weekly.
The Seago Line service supports the Port of Tyne’s existing container traffic operated by Unifeeder and BG Freight.
It provides links to Bremerhaven in Germany, Copenhagen in Denmark, Felixstowe in Suffolk, Grangemouth in Scotland, Helsingborg in Sweden, Rotterdam in Holland and St Petersburg. Richard Newton, the Port of Tyne’s commercial manager for logistics, said: “Our recent £6m investment in a second gantry crane has enabled this increase in business.
“The Calisto is almost 60 per cent longer than most container vessels visiting the port, and its capacity of 1,578 20ft-equivalent-size containers confirms the real potential to further grow the port’s container volumes.”
The Port of Tyne has invested more than £120m in the past 10 years to deliver continued growth and diversify its busines.
It handles containers for some of the UK’s leading brands including Nissan, Tetley Tea, Barbour, JML, Argos and Tommee Tippee.
The new service will see container exports from the port increase by about 50 per cent and could boost its distribution business by five per cent.
The Calisto, formerly known as the Independent Pursuit and Heide E, sails under a Liberian flag, and her home port is Monrovia in the West African country.
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