ABP rededicates Alexandra Silo Facility following £750,000 investment

September 12, 2014

Associated British Ports (ABP) has today, Friday, 12 September, rededicated its Alexandra Silo Facility following an extensive £750,000 investment and a new ten-year agreement with farmer co-operative Openfield, one of Britain’s leading grain exporters.

ABP and Openfield marked the occasion with a ceremony hosted by ABP Chief Executive James Cooper, and Openfield Director of Sales and Trading Mark Worrell, who unveiled a new plaque at the silo facility. The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries including MP for North West Norfolk, Henry Bellingham, and Councillor and Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Nick Daubney, as well as employees of both ABP and Openfield.

The port is crucial to the region’s farming industry, and the investment will secure the future of the facility well beyond the length of the new agreement. It will enable ABP to double its handling speeds from 75 tonnes per hour to 150 tonnes per hour, significantly reducing lorry turnaround times. By adding a new conveyor to the system, the facility can now discharge product returning to the domestic market from 12 of the 15 silos, where previously this was only possible from four, while simultaneously loading lorries used for carrying grain to ships.

This refurbishment takes ABP’s recent investments to support the regional farming industry – including the purchase of new grain-handling equipment – at King’s Lynn to £1.2m. A recent study by independent consultants Arup has highlighted that ABP’s East Anglian Ports of King’s Lynn, Lowestoft, and Ipswich, contribute £340m to the UK economy annually and support 5,000 UK jobs.

The silo, which was originally opened in 2000 at a cost of £3.8m, has handled over one million tonnes of rapeseed, wheat, and barley over the last ten years. The port regularly exports these cargoes to Holland, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and France.

ABP Director Short Sea Ports Andrew Harston said: “King’s Lynn plays a vital role enabling the region’s farmers to access global markets and this investment will secure the port’s continued success in the agribulks industry long into the future.

“We are pleased to be able to rededicate this facility today to help deliver further growth for the regional and UK economy.”

Mark Worrell, Openfield director of sales and trading, said: “The King’s Lynn grain terminal plays a key role in our efforts to export grain to the near continent.  It fulfils a strategic need to support the industry at a time when margins are under pressure and ensures grain movements can be kept to a minimum. Without it grain would have to be moved by road to other ports eroding its commercial value to the producer. 

“We have worked with ABP to ensure the port is equipped to meet the needs of the industry while delivering the efficiencies needed to support the competiveness of the UK cereals and oilseeds sectors.”

Henry Bellingham MP said: “I am delighted to be afforded the honour of presiding at the silo rededication ceremony.

“Lynn Docks are a vital part of our local economy, which is really picking up with many firms now expanding and investing. It is equally excellent news that unemployment has fallen by nearly 700 over the past year. It is very fitting that ABP is at the forefront of this new investment."

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