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ABP Observatory set to showcase Humber Estuary as vital trade route…

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ABP Director Humber John Fitzgerald and Cllr Mick Burnett officially open the ABP Observatory at the Cleethorpes Discovery Centre (image courtesy of Walton Media)

ABP Director Humber John Fitzgerald and Cllr Mick Burnett officially open the ABP Observatory at the Cleethorpes Discovery Centre (image courtesy of Walton Media)

ABP Observatory set to showcase Humber Estuary as vital trade route and wildlife habitat

A brand new facility at the Cleethorpes Discovery Centre will demonstrate the importance of the Humber Estuary as both a trade route and a wildlife habitat, to tourists and the local community, thanks to North East Lincolnshire Council and Associated British Ports (ABP).

The ABP Observatory forms part of a programme of refurbishment at the centre, which also houses gallery and teaching spaces, a café and a shop, and is located close to the banks of the Humber Estuary. It was officially opened recently by ABP Director Humber, John Fitzgerald, who feels the space is a fantastic addition to the Discovery Centre’s offer.

“It’s important that we make sure children and young people, families and visitors to the area are aware of the commercial and ecological importance of this Estuary and the ABP Observatory does this in a way that’s interesting, accessible and fun.

“I’m very proud to have been involved in the development of this project and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops over the coming months and years.”

The new facility features a range of information boards which demonstrate the Humber’s role as the ‘Energy Estuary’, the industries present in the Humber region which are reliant on the river for trade, and the types of cargoes handled by the four Humber ports.

The boards also show the types of wildlife that call the estuary home as well as the kinds of vessel and landmarks that can be seen from the panoramic window using the observatory’s sets of high-power binoculars. Visitors can also use a large interactive screen to learn about the vessels using the Humber in real time.

The idea was the brainchild of North East Lincolnshire Council’s Ecology Officer Mike Sleight, who approached ABP to support the project.

Mike said: “I’m hoping people will be fascinated. When they visit the observatory they like it, and the more that come, the better. It really does put into perspective how important the estuary is.”

More than 3, 000 people have visited the observatory over the summer.

Cllr Mick Burnett, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism at North East Lincolnshire Council also attended the opening.

He said: “I am delighted that ABP has sponsored the refurbishment of the observatory at the Discovery Centre.

“The centre attracts more than 150, 000 visitors per year and now they’ll have an enhanced observatory from which to view the ships and wildlife on the Humber.”

About ABP

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 1, 000 hectares of open storage
  • ·         Handled 119m tonnes of cargo in 2013
  • ·         Owns 5, 000 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.

ABP Humber

The four ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo each year. Between them they contribute £2.2 billion to the UK economy and support 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 construction, assembly, and service facility, which will be located on the Port’s Alexandra Dock. This new facility, coupled with a new rotor blade manufacturing base near Paull to the east of the port estate, represents a £310 million investment 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.


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