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Outer harbour hailed a success

PUBLISHED: 09:33 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:34 03 July 2010

A major expansion of Great Yarmouth's outer harbour was announced this week - seven months before it even opens for business.

In a move seen to reflect strong industry confidence in the scheme, Eastport UK is to develop an extra 300m of quay for general cargo activity.

A major expansion of Great Yarmouth's outer harbour was announced this week - seven months before it even opens for business.

In a move seen to reflect strong industry confidence in the scheme, Eastport UK is to develop an extra 300m of quay for general cargo activity.

Chief executive Eddie Freeman said it represented a “significant extra financial investment” in the £50m-plus project which is rapidly transforming a run-down area of South Denes.

He said: “The quay will now be about 500m long, giving us much greater flexibility to exploit commercial opportunities that we see presenting themselves, including offshore decommissioning, wind farms and other renewables.”

The extra space would also make it far easier to accommodate a roll-on roll-off ferry berth when a deal was finally struck with an operator.

Mr Freeman said building the extra quay - along the section of harbour closest to shore - had always been a long-term plan, but it was never envisaged to happen so quickly.

He said: “It creates efficiencies to do the work now while the contractors are on site, but it is also a display of good faith as far as we are concerned.

“Commercial interest is growing as we get further and further into the development and we are hopeful we can put the extra quay to good use.”

He said he was not disheartened by the present economic downturn because major players in the port industries tended to take a longer-term strategic approach, looking past economic blips.

Bad winter weather delayed progress by several weeks but Mr Freeman said contractors had made up time and the scheme was now “very much on schedule and to budget”.

The next phase of work would see a hi-tech cut-and-suction dredger return to port and, over a fortnight, excavate about half a million tons of sand from in front of the northern breakwater. The sediment would be used to build up reclaimed land to be used for shore activities.

Mr Freeman, who built his reputation as managing director of the HumberSea Terminal transforming a greenfield site at Killingholme into the most successful roll on roll off ferry port on the East coast, revealed that the first ships could be entering port as early as next March.

Cranes for the container terminal - a joint venture with the Port of Singapore - would be arriving at the end of March and, following two months of commissioning, the container terminal would become operational in June or July.

Building work on the extended quay would be finished in August when the port would be fully up-and-running.

He said recruitment for the container terminal would begin in the new year, and they were keen to find workers from the local area as far as possible.

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