About Us

Port Rouen ŠP-Boulen

Coastlink is a think-tank committed to expanding the role short sea shipping plays in transporting containers around Europe. Participants in meetings include deep-sea and short sea shipping companies, intermodal operators, shipbrokers, ports and stevedores, forwarding and logistics specialists and shippers.

Coastlink was established in London in 2004 under the Chairmanship of David Cheslin, Managing Director of Dunelm Public Relations Ltd.

Coastlink’s origins lie with a meeting in December 2003, initiated by Cheslin and Roser. This set out to explore the viability of a coastal container service along the UK East Coast that would cater for both deep-sea feeder boxes and the carriage of UK domestic traffic. While it was felt that the viability of moving domestic cargo by containers was still some way off, the meeting did conclude that regular meetings to discuss short sea matters would be worthwhile, especially given the looming spectre of port congestion during the 2004 peak season.

Coastlink organised a major conference in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in May 2004 and repeated the event in June 2005. This has settled down into a pattern of two major conferences each year. In 2009 these were in Tallinn and Dunkerque; 2010 in Hamburg; and 2011 in Hamburg, Liverpool and Bilbao. In 2012 a meeting was held in Dublin (sponsored by IMDO) and 2013 in Zeebrugge (sponsored by the Port of Zeebrugge). In addition, smaller meetings are held to discuss specific subjects of current interest.

Since its inception, Coastlink has broadened its scope from a purely UK association to include subjects of interest to those involved in short sea shipping throughout Northern Europe. The resultant networking opportunities, most notably between ports and short sea / feeder shipping companies, have already led to a number of new service initiatives while Coastlink was also working actively to identify and eliminate where possible those factors that restrict short sea shipping’s ability to compete with road transport. 2009 saw Coastlink's field of interest expand to cover the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Sadly David Cheslin passed away in August 2013. Gavin Roser who assumed the role of Chairman said that David made a major contribution not only to journalism but to the shipping industry. David had an incisive knowledge and a very clear mind on the direction the industry should take in a complex world of regulation, competitive forces from other modes and the need to make the industry more attractive as a career for future generations.