Crisis shuts new container terminal at Norfolk port


Operations at a new container terminal in Norfolk have been suspended because of the recession and before one ship has even docked there.

Great Yarmouth container terminal, part of a new £40m outer harbour, diverted its first and only ship to Ipswich.

The port is now to focus on growth of its existing business of agricultural produce shipments and offshore energy.

A grain terminal in the harbour serves agriculture across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire exporting cereal crops.

Eastport chief executive Eddie Freeman believes more business will come from energy-related sectors and agriculture than from containers.

"We are reacting to demand from the offshore sector and in particular those organisations involved in energy generation through offshore wind farms.

"They are on a steep growth curve but in contrast the UK container scene is still recovering from the financial crisis," he said.

Grain exports

Container activities will remain suspended until the sector is considered viable once again, said Eastport.

The port's cranes, which have dominated the coastal horizon for 18 months, have been dogged by criticism.

They are owned by global freight company Port of Singapore Authority working in partnership with Great Yarmouth.

The port, which has inner and outer harbour areas, is involved in many activities and is home to vessels supplying gas platforms in the North Sea.

Grain exports are a growth sector and the first ship docked at the new £5m grain terminal in July and was loaded with 4,200 tonnes of feed barley bound for Lisbon, Portugal.

The grain terminal, run by Gleadell Agriculture, anticipates a total of 500,000 tonnes of grain exports a year.

This part of the North Sea has also been designated as a growth area for wind farms and it is this business that the port hopes to attract.

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