ABP’s network of five ports in South Wales handled more than 12.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2015 and launched an array of renewable energy projects and significant new investments.
The 12.5 million tonnes of cargo that passed through the ports included a variety of both traditional and emerging sectors. The import and export of steel remains strong at the ports with Newport holding the title of the UK’s second largest steel handling port.
Sectors that have seen the most growth include the animal feed and fertiliser industry which has seen the ports adapt to accommodate these businesses and support local agriculture. The timber sector also generated noteworthy volumes of cargo.
The Port of Swansea also showcased its versatility and skills with the handling of wind turbine components for the Pen y Cymoedd wind energy project that will continue until spring of this year. On completion, this is due to be the biggest onshore wind farm in Wales and England.
A series of renewable energy projects has seen the ports move towards further energy self-sufficiency. Heavy investment has resulted in several wind and solar projects that collectively generated 7.8 million units of electricity in 2015. Projects include the 4.5MWp Barry solar array that was commissioned in August 2015 and officially opened by Alun Cairns MP and Jane Hutt AM. The solar project was the result of an investment of over £5 million by ABP.
Further electricity was generated by the 2.3MW wind turbine at the port of Newport, and a series of 250kW rooftop solar projects. The ports are also currently trialling the use of electric vehicles. These projects serve to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced by the ports with the energy generated used to power port operations. Any surplus energy is then exported to the national grid.
An additional £4 million was invested in new cargo handling equipment and operational equipment at the ports, including the purchase of a Mobile Harbour Crane and the installation of a new fertiliser bagging line at the Port of Swansea.
This growth has resulted in the permanent workforce at the ports increasing. The operations department has grown by 10% to accommodate customer demand.
As well as welcoming a wide variety of businesses through the lock gates, the ports also serve as a hub for many customers due to their strong network of transport links via road, rail, and sea.
In April 2015 Travis Perkins opened a major distribution centre at ABP Cardiff which represented an investment of £5 million by ABP. This facility resulted in the creation of 100 jobs and is a great example of what ABP’s unique logistical network of ports in South Wales can offer customers.
ABP Director South Wales, Matthew Kennerley, is pleased with the developments across the five ports over the past year.
“Investments throughout 2015 have allowed us to further develop a service tailored to our customer’s needs. The ports continue to be a thriving and unique landscape where businesses can grow and generate strong trade links. We have further investments planned for 2016 that encompass a wide range of port activity.
“The result of ABP’s South Wales operations is an annual contribution of almost
£1 billion to the Welsh economy. The vast assortment of businesses that use the ports also means that 15,000 Welsh jobs are supported by them along with an additional 6,000 supported in the rest of the UK.”