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Port operator set to move to new HQ

PUBLISHED: 12:31 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:34 03 July 2010

MORE than 30 staff will move into the new headquarters of outer harbour operator Eastport UK early next year, after the company clinched the purchase of the former Omni-Pac site.

MORE than 30 staff will move into the new headquarters of outer harbour operator Eastport UK early next year, after the company clinched the purchase of the former Omni-Pac site.

The 10-acre Hartmann Road site, which housed the former egg carton factory, will be transformed into the port's administration hub.

The company's current South Quay premises will be put on the market.

It is another signal of how Yarmouth's South Denes peninsula looks set to return to thriving offshore centre it once was during the oil boom of the 1970s, as revealed in the Mercury last week.

And it was also revealed this week that the first vessel could dock at the £50m outer harbour as early as February, a month earlier than previously predicted.

Speaking at a reception at the Town Hall on Wednesday, borough council leader Barry Coleman said the investment would transform the rundown site into the heart of Eastport UK.

He said: “Once refurbished, the facility will also become home to container terminal operators PSA Great Yarmouth and will hopefully allow Eastport UK to offer office and warehouse facilities to port users.

“Looking forward to 2009, an impressive sight will be the arrival of the two container terminal cranes, which will be shipped from China in a fully assembled state. Subject for commissioning, the container terminal will be operational by next July.”

He added targeted marketing of the port would continue in 2009 and would include a major presence at the MultiModal Exhibition in Birmingham and sponsorship of the Yarmouth and Lowestoft - East of England Stand at the Offshore Europe Exhibition in Aberdeen in September. The terminal development is a joint venture with the Port of Singapore.

Eddie Freeman, chief executive of operator EastPort UK, said negotiations had been going on with the borough council to buy the former Omni-Pac site, which has been empty since the factory closed four years ago with the loss of nearly 200 jobs after the discovery of asbestos.

The site was subsequently made safe in a clean-up operation, the cost of which ran into seven figures.

Mr Freeman said builders would immediately begin work on refurbishing an existing office block and tidying up the warehousing.

He also confirmed negotiations with an offshore company meant it was now likely the harbour would be brought into use in February for a job requiring a ship too big for the river port.

He said the first 400m of quay was approaching completion and a further section of quay would come on stream in stages through 2009 up to September.

The Mercury revealed last week that locals would no longer be able to enjoy the South Denes loop journey following an application to stop up South Beach Parade.

Strict custom controls mean most of the area will be off-limits to locals although vehicles will still be able to approach the river mouth along South Denes Road, on the river side of the peninsula, but will have to turn round at the entrance to the port using a mini-roundabout already in place.

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