Port motors on as ABP applies to expand £26m Grimsby River Terminal

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 9 Apr 2019

Grimsby's car handling might looks set to significantly grow once again, after Associated British Ports lodged an application to expand its river terminal.

The addition to the £26 million investment, brought forward six years ago, would allow the first port on the Humber to handle the world's largest car carriers.

It comes on top of significant growth, with numbers surging from 250,000 vehicles handled to 500,000 in recent years.

March 2015, and the 188-metre Planet Ace is moored at Grimsby River Terminal. Below, the land-side welcome.

ABP has applied to the Marine Management Organisation to conduct the works. 

The application is the critical first step in the consenting process to extend the existing berthing infrastructure, as well as deepen the berthing pocket through dredging. These improvements will enable the terminal, which can already handle two 175m long vessels simultaneously, to further support the automotive sector.

If approved, the port operator will commit a multi-million pound investment to the site which will see vessels able to contain almost 9,000 vehicles, berth alongside - three times the current capacity, which itself was a major increase on the 800-unit vessels that enter Royal Dock.

Former Grimsby port manager, John Fitzgerald, left, with Alistair Shields, Volkswagen Group's services director  and Capt Sam Judah MBE, managing director of Grimsby-based automotive logistics business GBA Group watch as the first pile is driven in back in May 2013. Below, the first vehicle is driven off in September 2015.

ABP's port manager for Grimsby, Ashley Curnow, said: “For many years Grimsby has been at the forefront of the movement of cars in the UK industry. This development will take us to the next exciting level. The port already has a proud history behind it and a bold future ahead.”

A response from the MMO is expected imminently.

The first phase was seen as future-proofing the town's role, building on the central England location and ease of access to the German automotive market directly across the North Sea.

Cars are driven direct from vessel, along the terminal, beside Grimsby's Dock Tower and towards Westside Road.

Completed in September 2013, the following year saw it recognised for technical excellence by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

It features a specially designed 70m linkspan bridge, allowing vehicles to be driven on and off the huge roll-on roll-off vessels regardless of the height of the tide in the river. It forms the connection between the fixed 195m finger pier jetty, stretching out from beneath the Dock Tower, and the huge floating pontoon, onto which the vessels will discharge. That measures 80m by 30m – an area capable of accommodating seven tennis courts.

Since it came into operation, millions of pounds have been spent on key infrastructure, including dedicated bases for the likes of Kia and BMWon the South Bank as well as further land acquisitions such as that by ABP for much of the former Huntsman Tioxide site.  Port of Immingham and Humber Sea Terminal at North Killingholme also welcome vehicles. 

The Grimsby Automotive Terminal, on the Tioxide site, has just opened, and is helping meet a peak in imports as manufacturers look to steal a march on any potential tariff implications from Brexit. 

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