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Port sites celebrate record October as huge volumes of grain shipped abroad

PUBLISHED: 11:45 17 December 2019

Grain being loaded onto a COFCO UK lorry at Ipswich Grain Terminal at the Port of Ipswich Picture: TOM BARKER

Grain being loaded onto a COFCO UK lorry at Ipswich Grain Terminal at the Port of Ipswich Picture: TOM BARKER

Cofco UK

The Port of Ipswich has doubled its grain exports this year - after a bumper harvest.

COFCO International UK grain at Ipswich port. Picture: COFCO INTERNATIONAL UKCOFCO International UK grain at Ipswich port. Picture: COFCO INTERNATIONAL UK

Port owners Associated British Ports (ABP) said 500,000 tonnes left the port in the months of June to November 2019 - more than a twofold tonnage rise on 2018 when the port exported around 200,000 tonnes of grain.

During the month of October 2019, 161,885 tonnes of grain was shipped from the port, representing the highest traffic in 11 years.

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ABP customer Clarksons Port Services reported record-breaking volumes during October, when it exported 68,809 tonnes - beating its previous record held since September 2008 at 64,186 tonnes.

Andy Rham, managing director at Clarkson Port Services, said: "We were pleased to work closely with ABP's Port of Ipswich in order to ensure we had adequate stores and equipment to look after our customers through this extremely busy period.

The Port of Ipswich handled double the amount of grain in 2019 as in the previous year  Picture: COMMISSION AIRThe Port of Ipswich handled double the amount of grain in 2019 as in the previous year Picture: COMMISSION AIR

"At times we were loading four vessels, using all eight of our conveyors."

Grain giant COFCO, which also operates out of the port, said it had also seen record tonnages in October.

Tim Capey, COFCO's international chief operating officer, said Ipswich Grain Terminal handled 140,000 tonnes of grain and animal feed during October - the highest monthly tonnage since the facility opened in 1983.

"This high level of activity reflects the leading role that COFCO International and Ipswich Grain Terminal play in the food and feed supply chain," he said.

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Together with the ABP's other port in East Anglia, Ipswich handles more than 2 million tonnes of agricultural commodities annually and plays a vital role in supporting the regional economy.

ABP divisional port manager in East Anglia Paul Ager said more development plans were set to be revealed next year as volumes going through the port expand.

"We would like to thank our customers for working with us to ensure smooth operations at the port during the busy harvest season," he said

"We have been investing in expanding storage capacity at the port to meet the requirements of the agricultural sector, with more developments currently under way, which will be unveiled in 2020."

The Port of Ipswich is the UK's leading export port for agricultural products.

ABP's East Anglian ports at King's Lynn, Lowestoft and Ipswich contribute £360m to the UK economy every year, supporting 3,700 jobs in the region and 5,300 jobs nationally.

They handle more than 3m tonnes of cargo every year.

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