14 July 2014 – A group of 75 Royal Marines from 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines based themselves Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Grimsby for four days recently as part of a military planning exercise.
539 Assault Squadron are the amphibious arm of 3 Commando Brigade and provide the formation with small boats and raiding craft, as well as specialist knowledge of riverine environments.
The exercise, which formed part of Exercise Raging Torrent, called for a challenging estuarine location and the Humber was selected because of its tidal range and its continually shifting bed.
Captain Andrew Lacy, 2IC 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines explained what the Squadron was looking for and why they chose the Humber as the location for this exercise.
He said: “We are the only group in defence to operate on rivers in this manner and for this particular exercise we really needed an estuary.
“The Humber ticked a lot of boxes for us as it’s the second-largest in the UK and it’s a very dynamic environment. It’s a challenging place as it has a huge tidal range and the bed shifts dramatically so it’s very testing for our coxswains. That, coupled with the support offered by ABP, made it ideal.
“The space given to us at Grimsby also meant we could move our entire logistics base to the port, which made things so much easier.”
The Squadron brought 12 craft in total including inflatable Zodiacs, Offshore Raiding Craft, hovercrafts and Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP), with which to conduct river patrols, beach reconnaissance and practice counter smuggling operations.
“It was the ideal place for us to base ourselves for this particular exercise, ” Capt. Lacy continued. “It has been a real challenge and our personnel have really been tested – particularly on navigation.
“It’s been good for planning for future deployments and for contingency operations. We will definitely be back in the future, it’s been an extremely worthwhile visit and I can’t speak highly enough of ABP and its staff.”
ABP Marine and Operations Manager Grimsby, Phil Christy worked with 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines to ensure they had everything they needed during their stay.
“It was fantastic to see the Royal Marines making use of the port in this way, ” said Phil. “They were a pleasure to work with and to watch them coming in and out of the lock, using Royal Dock and the river for their exercise was a spectacular sight.”
ABP is the UK’s leading ports operator with 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo.
Around one quarter of the UK’s seaborne trade passes through ABP’s Statutory Harbour Areas. ABP contributes £5.6 billion to the UK economy every year and supports 84, 000 jobs. Our current investment programme promises to deliver an extra £1.75 billion for the economy every year.
· Handled over 1.5 million vehicles in 2013.
· Generates around one quarter of the UK’s rail freight
· Has 1.4 million square metres of covered storage
· Has 1000 hectares of open storage
· Handled 119m tonnes of cargo in 2013
· Owns 5000 hectares of port estate
· Has 87km of quay
Over the next five years, ABP is investing over £650 million in a wide range of major projects across the group.
The four ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo between them and contribute £2.2 billion to the UK economy each year. £1.5 billion of this is retained within the Humber region.
ABP’s Humber ports support 23, 000 jobs in the region and 33, 000 jobs nationally.
Grimsby and Immingham form the UK’s busiest trading gateway and move around 54 million tonnes of cargo per annum.
£75 million is currently being invested in the biomass handling terminal in Immingham, in a Humber-wide agreement with Drax Power Ltd that has seen £25 million invested in a biomass handling facility in Hull. The Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal will handle sustainable biomass shipments and will create over 100 permanent jobs once complete. The construction phase has also created 100 employment opportunities.
The Port of Hull handles 10 million tonnes of cargo per annum and is the is the focal point for the development of the UK’s largest offshore wind turbine manufacturing facility, which will be located on the Port’s Alexandra Dock. This new manufacturing facility represents a £310 million investment by both Siemens and ABP and could create up to 1000 direct jobs.
The Grimsby River Terminal represents an investment of £26 million and allows large car-carrying ships to berth outside the Port’s lock system. This development confirms the Port’s position as the UK’s leading automotive handling facility.
More than the equivalent of 1million teus (twenty foot equivalent unit) of unitised trade is shipped through ABP Humber ports.
Ro-ro and container traffic represents more than 30 sailings a week to Europe, Scandinavia the Baltic and beyond.
The Humber ports handle more than 70 freight train movements per day.
Goole is situated 50 miles upriver and is the UK’s premier inland port. It handles over two million tonnes of cargo annually