Suffolk port 'set to provide major boost to local economy over next five years'
PUBLISHED: 16:17 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:44 03 May 2019
© Stephen Waller
The key role played by the Port of Ipswich in boosting the local and regional economy was underlined at the opening of a new £700k fertiliser facility.
The launch of the blending and bagging plant, based at the port's Coldock Bulk Bagging terminal, means that grain, seed and fertiliser firm COFCO, which operates out of it, will be able to increase the range it can offer to UK farmers, as well as develop new products and improve its distribution.
Overall, the investment, which also includes new delivery trucks, comes to around £2m for the site, and has created six new jobs – and it's hoped the port's activities will boost the local economy still further in the coming years.
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Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, who officially unveiled the new plant, said the port, which supports nearly 2,000 jobs, is already worth around £122m to the local economy, with the aim of increasing that by around £24m over the next five years.
The latest investment was “a significant vote of confidence in Ipswich and Suffolk,” she said.
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The historic port had adapted and grown to be “the thriving trading centre it is today”, and the support it provided to the food and farming industry would not have been possible without the backing of port owners ABP and of COFCO, she added. Today it is the UK's leading export port for agricultural products.
“This really is an exciting international business project, and one that brings new investment, global expertise and the potential of new markets around the world, from this new facility here in Ipswich,” she said.
Guests at the opening event, at which a bagging demonstration took place, included keynote speaker and BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson. ABP chief executive Henrik Pederson, UK COFCO boss Mark Dordery and ABP short sea ports director Andrew Harston also attended.
Mr Harston said ABP was “delighted” at the latest investment to help grow the business of its customer, COFCO International UK. “Together with ABP's other two East Anglian ports of Lowestoft and King's Lynn, Ipswich plays a vital role in supporting the regional economy and local jobs.”
Mr Dordery said the new Ipswich facilities were “key” to helping it develop its range of fertiliser products and services for its growing customer base across East Anglia and the UK.