Meet 6 of the unsung heroes who keep Hull's port running

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 4 Jun 2018

From wood pellets and grain to coil springs and chemicals, ABP in Hull is a vital cog which keeps the Humber business wheel turning.

Home to the UK’s first all-weather terminal, which handles sensitive cargoes including steel and bagged products, as well as two new £10.5m ship-to-shore cranes which life crates and containers on and off the ships, the range of roles ABP fills is staggering.

The company essentially runs the ports in Hull, and handles around 10 million tonnes of cargo every year. It also owns enough land to fill 1,500 football pitches.

From long-standing staff who have worked at the port for decades, to new faces who are embarking on their careers, ABP offers something for everyone. Here are some of the unsung heroes of ABP.

Liam Rush, operations supervisor

Liam Rush, operations supervisor

“I have been at ABP for two years now. I was originally in the Royal Navy, and when I decided to leave I knew about the work that goes on here and sent an email to the port director.

“I am now responsible for the safety of anything from the two to 15 people who work at this terminal.

“It is such a big company, and I know people who have been proud to work for ABP for 20 or 30 years. There are lots of benefits to working here, and every day is different.

“It is a very dynamic job – things can change very quickly – but it is always interesting and I would recommend ABP to anyone.”

Pictured: Spectacular views from the top of ABP's £10.5m cranes

Paul Aitchison, crane operator

Paul Aitchison, crane operator

“I have been working at ABP for 37 years. I started out as a messenger when I was 16, and then when I was 18 I was old enough to apply for what they called a man’s job back then.

“I have had so many jobs here. I have cleaned gulleys out after ships have been in, and eventually worked my way up to being a crane operator.

“I have been doing my current job for about 10 years, and watched them build the all-weather terminal, which is like the Rolls Royce of buildings – there is nowhere else in Europe like this.

“It has been a good job, and ABP is a good company to work for.

“It is a job where you can climb the ladder and move forward. There are lots of opportunities.”

Read more: ABP trialling new scheme to turn ocean waste into shampoo bottles

Ewen Johnstone, terminal operations manager

Ewen Johnstone, terminal operations manager

“I have only been at ABP for 18 months. My background has always been in cargos.

“I started out in Southampton, before I moved to the Middle East and then the south of France in Marseille.

“I was then looking for a move back to the UK, and the position came up here. Being the national company it is, and being the largest terminal operator in the UK, I jumped at the opportunity.

“I look after the day-to-day running of the terminal, work with all the stakeholders and the powers that be.

“There has been some huge investment in the Humber in recent times, and this place is a true reflection of that.”

Read more: Major new port deal will see 30,000 more containers enter and leave Hull every year

Pete Alexander, terminal controller

Peter Alexander, terminal controller

“I have been with ABP for two years since they took over this terminal, but I have been working at the port since 1990.

“In 1989 there was the abolition of the dock labour scheme under Margaret Thatcher, and ABP at the time had no interest in getting involved.

“The container terminal had been shut down for two years at that time. It went on to become PD Ports, until two years ago when ABP took over the running of it.

“Some of the biggest changes I have seen here have been in the equipment we use to handle containers. The cranes we now have are far more productive, and it has increased the speed in which we can reload a vessel.

“I have been involved in shipping all my working life, and have never been bored with it.”

Read more: Globe-trotting ports chief to be the next leader of ABP

Paul Johnson, shift manager

Paul Johnson, shift manager

“I have been with ABP for five years. Before this I worked for a parcel company in Hull.

“There are lots of opportunities to be promoted and move forwards with ABP. I started as a port operative, then this position came up and I took over in January last year.

“It is my job to brief the lads of what is coming in and going out, and making sure everything is running ok.

“If you want training in a certain thing, you can request it and they will always help you out, so in that way it is a great place to work.

“I am lucky that I really enjoy what I do. Hopefully I will be able to work here for a long time, and there is such a variety of jobs that there is something for everyone."

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