UK port operator Associated British Ports (ABP) intends to invest GBP 50 million (USD 62.15 million) to more than double the capacity of its two Humber container terminals, in response to continued growth in demand.
ABP said it eyes the possibility of new Free Trade Zones post-Brexit. These could allow for goods and parts to be imported, manufactured and re-exported from the designated zone without incurring the usual import procedures or tariffs.
“Brexit represents opportunities for port-based, export-led manufacturing, particularly if the government was able to introduce Free Trade Zones at ports,” Simon Bird, ABP Humber Director, explained.
ABP has committed nearly GBP 30 million to upgrading Hull Container Terminal including the purchase of four new ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, two of which were delivered in 2016 with two more scheduled for delivery in 2018. The investment is expected to increase capacity at the terminal to some 250,000 TEU per year.
Immingham Container Terminal, which also took delivery of a new crane in 2016, will be further extended with investment in new equipment and technology, bringing capacity to 300,000 TEU.
According to ABP, its Humber’s investment case is based on figures showing that across the Humber container terminals there has been a 41% growth in volumes since 2013.
“We have seen significant growth at our Humber container terminals in recent years and all the indications are that this will continue despite Brexit,” Bird, said, adding that the port operator anticipates growth in container shipping in the coming years.
This investment in the Humber comes on the back of the recent investment by ABP in Southampton of a further GBP 50 million on a vehicle handling terminal which will predominantly be handling UK manufactured vehicles for export around the world.
The Hull and Immingham investments are part of ABP’s commitment to GBP 1 billion of investment across all its ports over the next five years.