Investment underpins strong growth at the Port of Ipswich

The Arklow Beacon, one of the ships which called at the Port of Ipswich during 2015.
Photo: John Fe

The Arklow Beacon, one of the ships which called at the Port of Ipswich during 2015. Photo: John Ferguson Photography - Credit: Archant

The Port of Ipswich has reported a near-14% increase in shipping traffic during 2015, helped by a multi-million pound investment by owner Associated British Ports (ABP) in new facilities.

A total of 690 ships called at the port last year, the highest number in the last three years and well up on the figure of 606 recorded in 2014.

Ipswich is the UK’s largest port for grain exports and this position was strengthened last year with the opening of the new £2.2million Orwell Bulk Terminal at Cliff Quay.

Alastair MacFarlane, port manager for ABP East Anglia, which also includes the ports of Lowestoft and King’s Lynn, said: “The Port of Ipswich continues to be a key element of the agricultural supply chain in East Anglia. Not only are locally grown crops such as wheat and barley exported through our port, but we are the principal port for fertiliser and animal feed imports which are important to Suffolk’s farming community.”

The port also saw strong growth in the construction sector last year, with customers importing higher volumes of aggregates and cement while bricks and timber also continued to represent an important component of the port’s trade.

Together, ABP’s three ports in East Anglia contribute an estimated £340million to the UK economy and support more than 3,500 jobs in the region.

They handle around 2.2million n tonnes of cargo every year, including more than 1.3m tonens of agribulks and 150,000 tonnes of timber.

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The development of the Orwell Bulk Terminal also saw ABP invest in solar panelling as part of an ongoing commitment by the group to use eco-friendly electricity within its port estates.

Despite only being in operation since May, the panels installed on the new terminal have already generated 66,500 kilowatts hours of electricity – the equivalent of one hour of power for 1.1million light bulbs.

ABP short sea ports director Andrew Harston added: “2015 has proved to be another busy year for the Port of Ipswich.

“I would like to thank our ABP staff, and most importantly, our customers for trusting the Port of Ipswich with their business. We look forward to another busy year in 2016 and increasing the number of ship visits again.”