Volkswagen Group has signed an agreement with Associated British Ports (ABP) to be an “anchor tenant” for the development of a new multi-million pound vehicle terminal development at the port of Grimsby in the northeast UK which is expected to attract interest from the wider industry.
According to ABP, which is investing £25m ($39m) in the development of the Grimsby River Terminal–the largest-ever capital investment at the port–it will offer significantly improved access to the international automotive industry and be capable of berthing ships that can carry nearly four times the number of vehicles than those currently using the Alexandra Dock.
The Dock is currently accessed via the Royal Lock entrance, which limits ship size to a maximum of 800 cars. The proposed terminal will offer lock-free access for two vessels carrying up to 3,000 vehicles, significantly increasing the port’s capacity and making it more attractive to carriers It will link directly into the port’s vehicle storage facilities.
Work will begin early in 2012, with the first ships expected to berth at the new facility in autumn 2013.
Volkswagen, which has used port since the early 1970s, is the largest carmaker importing to the UK, and ABP port director for Grimsby & Immingham, John Fitzgerald, said in a statement that it was fitting that such a long-term customer was key to “this exciting new phase in the history of the port of Grimsby.”
He went on: “This new contract strengthens our close working relationship with VW Group and builds on the combination of Grimsby’s specialist car-handling facilities, with the expertise of GBA Group’s staff. This has successfully attracted the world’s leading car carriers to the Humber. The development of the terminal will allow us to significantly expand and will bring new job opportunities in coming years”.
Speaking for VW, Robin Slough, head of Vehicle Operations, VW Group, added: “Grimsby is at the centre of our UK logistics strategy. Its excellent links enable efficient distribution to our customers in most of England and Wales. We are delighted to support ABP’s expansion project by committing our traffic to the Port of Grimsby for the long term.”
The Port of Grimsby and Immingham is the UK’s busiest car-handling port, with 635,000 units shipped in 2010. Alongside VW, manufacturers serviced at Grimsby include Toyota and Peugeot Citroën.