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Outer harbour's new huge grain terminal

PUBLISHED: 01:26 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:52 03 July 2010

A NEW grain export facility at Great Yarmouth is the latest major investment to be announced for EastPort.

Agricultural merchants Gleadell is spending about £5m on a new grain terminal and loading facilities for vessels of up to 25,000 tonnes.

A NEW grain export facility at Great Yarmouth is the latest major investment to be announced for EastPort.

Agricultural merchants Gleadell is spending about £5m on a new grain terminal and loading facilities for vessels of up to 25,000 tonnes.

The investment, which involves a flat grain store with 20,000 tonnes capacity and two drying plants will form the hub of Gleadell Agriculture's regional export and import business.

David Sheppard, managing director, said: “While we were operating in three or four ports in the region we'll try and pull it all together into one operation.

“We're looking an investment of between £4m to £5m. Site work is on-going at the moment and then we will hope to appoint a builder in the next six to eight weeks. Construction will start in October or November and should be up and running by the beginning of next July,” he added.

The Yarmouth facility, which will be similar to the Immingham operation, can handle wet grain, which can be dried and then shipped in vessels from the new outer harbour.

“It will reduce a lot of the overhead and improve the handling,” said Mr Sheppard. A mobile shiploader or elevator, with capacity to handle 1,000 tonnes an hour, and can load vessels of up to 25,000 tonnes.

The eastern counties are the biggest grain producing area in the UK and are probably likely to stay that way for the future, said Mr Sheppard.

“It has some of the best land, some of the best farmers and some of the best yields. Gleadell has been in East Anglia since 2001 and we've built the business up steadily and we're a reasonably large player in the area,” he added.

Yarmouth has a major advantage as a deep water port. “If you look at the East Anglian region, Ipswich can load 13,000-tonne vessels and Tilbury, which is too far south, can handle bigger vessels but all the others are tidal ports,” said Mr Sheppard.

Eddie Freeman, chief executive of EastPort UK, said: “Agriculture features strongly in our regional economy. This, and the strength of Gleadell, will establish us as a major player nationally in this sector.”

Trevor Gates, who is Gleadell's East Anglian regional manager and based at Swaffham, said that terminal would avoid the double haulage incurred in all central stores.

“It will provide an extremely useful and competitive drying and storage facility for farmers. We also believe that our flour milling customers and maize consumers in the region will find the facility well positioned for the import and storage of high quality milling wheat and maize,” said Mr Gates.

Mr Sheppard, added: “With the support of our shareholders, AC Toepfer International and Union InVivo, we believe that we can provide farmers throughout the East Anglian region with valuable markets for their produce in the future.”

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