Annual cargo volume at Port of Ipswich grows 13% as £5.4m investment programme continues

The new bulk warehouse under construction at the Port of Ipswich, part of Associated British Ports.

The new bulk warehouse under construction at the Port of Ipswich, part of Associated British Ports. Photo: Stephen Waller/ - Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller

The Port of Ipswich handled 2.6m tonnes of cargo last year, a 13% increase compared with 2015, according to figures relased by owner Associated British Ports (ABP).

Growth was driven by a 22% increase in cargo for export, with the total rising from just over 1m tonnes in 2015 to more than 1.25m.

And the annual total, which marks the port’s best performance since 2010, has yet to reflect in full the benefit of investment by ABP last year in upgrading facilities and replacing equipment at Ipswich.

ABP, which in East Anglia also includes the ports of Lowestoft and King’s Lynn, invested around £5.4m in the Port of Ipswich during 2016, including a new £2.2m, 40,000sq ft bulk store which is due for completion in April.

This will be used to meet the demands for additional agribulk storage, for which Ipswich is established as the UK’s most important export port.

More than £1.6m was spent last year on new equipment including five cargo handling grabs, four forklift trucks and a new Mantsinen tracked mobile high capacity crane which is due for arrival at the port early next month.

In addition, the port worked with Spirit Yachts to refurbish its property, providing £300,000 in funding for the project, and also extended the lease of the company’s facilities on the island site at the Ipswich Wet Dock.

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ABP short sea ports director Andrew Harston said: “2016 was a significant year for the Port of Ipswich. We were named the UK’s leading export port for agricultural products by the Department for Transport for the sixth consecutive year and our customers set a new grain handling record for tonnage in the 2015-16 harvest year.

“The investment in the port is not only for ABP’s operations; our business depends on our customers and their success. We are committed to providing them with effective infrastructure and equipment, and in 2016 the team in Ipswich focused on working with our customers to better meet their operational needs.”

ABP divisional port manager Paul Ager added: “Last year it was evident that there was a need to expand our infrastructure to meet the demands of the port and it is a tribute to our customers and all of the Port of Ipswich team that this has been the best year since 2010.

“We expect 2017 to be just as busy as 2016, especially when our next new bulk shed is open and ready for use. Our investment in Ipswich is ongoing and we will be reviewing ways to update, improve and expand our facilities at the port.”