30-9-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — The largest capital investment in Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Grimsby since the lock gates first opened in 1852, will see the facility go from strength to strength and cement its place as the UK’s premier car handling facility, according to ABP Port Director Grimsby & Immingham John Fitzgerald.
Speaking at the official opening of the Grimsby River Terminal (GRT) Mr Fitzgerald also stated that this investment represents a vote of confidence in the town and the start of what he believes will be a long-awaited renaissance for Grimsby.
The Grimsby River Terminal, which will allow a new generation of larger car carrying vessels access to the port, was completed in July at a cost of £26million. Until now, the existing lock gates limited ship size to those capable of carrying 800 vehicles. The new terminal, which is located outside the lock gates, will provide berthing for two vessels simultaneously, each carrying up to 3,000 cars.
John Fitzgerald is confident that the facility will secure the port’s position as one of the UK’s major automotive terminals, boosting the region’s economy and creating jobs.
He said: “The port is seeing real sustainable growth and this will continue as long as organisations such as Volkswagen Group UK, DONG Energy, Centrica and E.On have the foresight and the confidence to invest.”
ABP Chief Executive, James Cooper, added “The opening of the Grimsby River Terminal marks another important milestone in ABP’s wider programme of investment across the Humber, which we expect will total at least £350 million over the coming years.
“This brand new terminal is further testimony to ABP’s ongoing commitment to the Humber region, to serving our customers and to delivering growth.”
The ceremony was held on the GRT’s purpose-built pontoon, which is located 349m from the bank out on the river itself and was marked by a Volkswagen vehicle coming off one of the ships berthed especially for the occasion, and bursting through a commemorative screen.
More than 80 guests attended the event including Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, Peter Scott of Graham Construction and Sam Judah of the GBA Group. The opening itself was performed by Robin Woolcock, former Managing Director of Volkswagen Group UK.
The Volkswagen Group was the first company to import vehicles through the Port of Grimsby almost 40 years ago, and the group has ambitions to become the UK’s leading marque, a goal ABP hopes it will achieve following the construction of the GRT.
Mr Woolcock said: “I am privileged enough to have seen this project right through from conception to completion and I’m proud to be here to mark the opening of the facility.
“Previously the lock put a limit on the number of cars we could bring into the port, so we’re extremely grateful to ABP for investing and securing the future of the Volkswagen Group at Grimsby.”
Alan Bill, Managing Director for GRAHAM Construction, said “GRAHAM were privileged to be given the opportunity to tender these new deep water berthing facilities back in late 2011 and were then delighted to be awarded the scheme and the project commenced in February 2012. We have had responsibility for the delivery of a vital piece of infrastructure for ABP and in doing so this facility keeps Grimsby Port at the centre of car imports/ exports for many years ahead.
“This project will cement the relationships we have with ABP and our supply chain members and allows GRAHAM to continue to be an active participant and leader in the Marine and Ports sector of the construction industry. I am confident it will ensure ABP continue to build on their existing successes and meet the needs of major car manufacturers in moving the bulk of cars in and out of the UK.
“A key part of this project’s success has been the high level of teamwork and the commitment of all individuals to delivering a high quality project, safely and on time. We are particularly grateful to the dedication of our site team and long hours worked which frequently were in in very difficult weather conditions.
“The project has had many challenges and GRAHAM has risen to these and has completed a quality product on time and within budget.”
The Grimsby River Terminal will significantly increase the port’s capacity and make it attractive to more carriers. It will link directly into the port’s extensive car storage facilities.
The Port of Grimsby and Immingham shipped over 600,000 units in 2012 and manufacturers serviced at the complex include Volkswagen Group, Toyota, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Mini, Peugeot Citroen, and Suzuki.
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