A £5 million investment in a new lock system at Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Grimsby will make its Royal Dock more attractive to energy companies looking to base their offshore wind operations and maintenance activities at the port.
The project forms part of an agreement between ABP and DONG Energy, which is building facilities for its own operations and maintenance base at the port, alongside other energy companies including E.On, Centrica and Siemens.
The lock leading to the port’s Royal Dock has seen both inner and outer lock gates replaced, as well as extensive repairs to the cills that the gates abut.
ABP Supervising Engineer Dave Good explained why the gates needed to be replaced.
He said: “The existing lock gates were semi buoyant and as such can only work for six hours around high tide. This gives us an operations window of around 12 hours in every 24.
“The new gates are of a single-skin construction and are non-buoyant, with much stiffer anchorages so we can work for almost 24 hours.
“This will allow our newer customers – the energy companies who run their operations and maintenance (O&M) activities from Grimsby, to work regular day shifts, rather than having to work around high tide, which could be any time of the day or night.”
ABP Port Manager Grimsby & Immingham Mike Sellers said: “This is about making the dock more accessible, becoming a 24-hour port rather than being tidally restricted.
“We want to attract more of this business to Grimsby. It is now a major hub for operations and maintenance businesses in the offshore wind industry, and this is another example of ABP investing to grow the port.”
DONG Energy’s Jason Ledden agrees: “The flexibility allowed by the new system will give us unrestricted access to the dock. This means we can work smarter and more efficiently to service our wind farms from Grimsby for the next 25 years.”
The old gates weigh 70 tonnes each and were last replaced in 1982. The replacement gates measure 12m by 9m and each weigh 72 tonnes. Designed and constructed by Dutch contractor Ravestein, they were craned into place after work to repair the damaged cills had been completed.
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.
The four ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo between them each year.
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.