A new wharf has opened at Great Yarmouth's Outer Harbour - and it will be welcoming the largest vessel to ever dock in the town. 

Yeoman Bridge, also known as Big Red, is the biggest self-discharging bulk carrier of its kind and it will be delivering granite from Scotland.

The 55,000 tonne cargo ship will anchor at a new three-acre wharf at Peel Ports.

The site, with an 800,000 tonne per annum capacity, will allow Aggregate Industries, a construction materials manufacturer, to expand its operations into the region for the first time.

The launch of the new berth should allow for a steady supply of granite from a quarry at Glensanda in northwest Scotland.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The Big Red arriving at Great Yarmouth in December 2023. The Big Red arriving at Great Yarmouth in December 2023. (Image: Luke Martin Photography)

The rock will be used for various energy and infrastructure plans under way in the region such as utilities reinforcements and highways upgrades, the Sizewell C nuclear power station, the East Anglia Array, and the Norwich to Tilbury Great Grid Upgrade.

Lee Sleight, managing director of Aggregate Industries’ aggregates and overseas division, said: “Our expansion into Great Yarmouth represents a significant development for the region by facilitating the transport of large quantities of aggregates.

"For us meanwhile, it serves as a fresh market opportunity, aligning with our vision to support and sustain communities and local infrastructure projects with a steady and reliable supply of high-quality materials."

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Great Yarmouth Mercury: The Port of Great Yarmouth welcomes its largest ship Yeoman BridgeThe Port of Great Yarmouth welcomes its largest ship Yeoman Bridge (Image: Luke Martin Photography)

He said the new site benefits from the increased demand driven by major projects across the southeast and sets up the company to play "a pivotal role" in enhancing the construction capabilities of Norfolk, Suffolk and beyond.

"Underlining all of this is the use of shipping as a more environmentally responsible way to transport thousands of tonnes of Scottish granite across the country," Mr Sleight added.

South East area manager for Aggregate Industries Will Harrison said: “This first venture into the area is an exciting opportunity for us and we’re looking forward to forging relationships with the region’s local authorities and businesses, specifically reaching out to groundspeople and civil engineers.

"Armed with the impressive resources of Glensanda, not only can we immediately address coarse material shortages in the local market, but we can also supply a considerable volume smoothly flowing into port thanks to the capabilities of our 55,000 tonne cargo ship.”

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Great Yarmouth Mercury: Yeoman Bridge is 249m in length and has a breadth of 38m.Yeoman Bridge is 249m in length and has a breadth of 38m. (Image: Luke Martin Photography)

The ship, known locally as the Big Red, is the Yeoman Bridge, a self-discharging bulk carrier which has set local records when it docked at the town's Outer Harbour for the first time last December.

The ship sparked considerable local excitement for being the largest vessel to ever dock at Great Yarmouth.

With a surface area the size of Norwich’s Carrow Road Stadium, each shipment arriving into port via the North Sea reduces CO2 emissions by 165 tonnes compared to what would otherwise be emitted by 2,894 HGVs travelling approximately 1,000 miles for every round trip.

Built in 1991, the ship is 249m in length with a breadth of 38m and it is sailing under the flag of Bahamas.

Construction work on Great Yarmouth's Outer Harbour began in 2007 and the port opened in the South Denes area in 2009.  

Initial plans included a container terminal and a passenger ferry terminal - but with no confirmed contracts these were never built.

The facility was bought by Peel Ports in 2015 for an estimated £50m. More recently it has specialised in servicing the offshore energy industry.