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Town port boss ‘very proud’ as figures reveal its vital role during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 14:42 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:42 12 May 2020

Grain loading at the Port of Ipswich  Picture: ABP

Grain loading at the Port of Ipswich Picture: ABP

ABP

The Port of Ipswich has welcomed more than 70 ships and handled a bumper 240,500 tonnes of cargo during coronavirus lockdown.

Figures released by port owners Associated British Ports (ABP) reveal a remarkable level of activity at the port, which has received more than 32,000 tonnes of fertiliser destined for the farming sector in Suffolk and north Essex since March 23.

Meanwhile, port customers have exported over 80,000 tonnes of barley, wheat, oats and beans to ports including Rotterdam, Leith in Scotland, Gran Canaria and Reykjavik in Iceland.

MORE – Land Rover car parts firm celebrates 50% rise in customer numbers during lockdown

Shipments of Suffolk-grown beans have been exported to Egypt,and the port has received nine shipments of animal feed imports for chicken and pig farming operations in Suffolk.

The port of Ipswich also supports the construction sector. Although some operations have been suspended, vital materials for the construction supply chain have continued to arrive, many of which were shipped or arranged prior to the lockdown.

A total of 21,000 tonnes of timber was delivered to Ipswich from Scandinavia and the Baltic States in nine ships during lockdown, and 51,000 tonnes of aggregate, cement and bricks.

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Andrew Harston, ABP regional director for Wales & Short Sea Ports Andrew Harston, who is responsible for the Port of Ipswich, said he was “very proud” of port employees and the job they have done over recent weeks.

“I really want to thank and pay tribute to all of our colleagues who are key workers who have been in the front line working on the quayside to keep vital cargoes coming in and out of the country.

“We have asked colleagues to work from home where possible but the majority of our employees are directly involved in handling goods, which means they need to be physically on the quayside. Our colleagues have done a fantastic job in following safety procedures and keeping the port working at near normal levels, which is something we could not have done without them.

“This has allowed our customers to continue operating throughout the crisis.”

Maritime minister Kelly Tolhurst MP praised the “commitment and dedication” of maritime workers, which head meant supermarket shelves had been replenished and vital medicines brought in.

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