As I write, a similar number are expected in the next few days. Except it is no longer Great Yarmouth. It is now ‘Eastport’, a branding exercise that denotes the transfer of the river port to private ownership as a result of the need for huge investment in the new Outer Harbour.
The port at Great Yarmouth since ’07 has been owned and operated by Great Yarmouth Port Company Limited (GYPC), a subsidiary of International Port Holdings (IPH) which in turn was acquired by an investment fund, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). From the asset and knowledge base of Great Yarmouth, this grouping are said to be seeking port investment opportunities world-wide and early on acquired an interest in a major container terminal in Argentina, which all seems a long stride from the familiar homely quays of Great Yarmouth.
The Outer Harbour was long a dream of interests in Yarmouth and though the economic climate is hardly conducive to allow such a project to be said to be ‘booming’, it has come into its own with regard to the offshore wind construction bonanza that has placed ‘Eastport’ within reach of maybe the greatest concentration of offshore wind-farm investments in the world, including sites in both the UK and near continental waters.
Compared to that traumatic 90 degree bend inside the River Yare entrance, the Outer Harbour which became operational in February last year offers untold ease when docking and manoeuvring, with a 200m wide entrance and ready access at all states of the tide. There is 10m depth at chart datum and 1,000ms of clear quay space. It must be proving a boon to project and heavy lift business and for general cargoes from vessels too large for the river berths where the limit has been 130m length and 28m beam on a draught of 6.2m.
One thing the River does offer is shelter – assuming you can get in! – and I understand swell may on occasion be an issue for the Outer Harbour but it hardly affects much of the heavy lift and construction rigs and barge traffic being attracted there.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - October 2011 Issue
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