Port investment sparked by Drax’s future pellet demands
Associated British Ports (ABP) has signed a 15-year contract with Drax Power which will see terminal investments of up to £100 million (€118 million) to handle wood pellet shipments at its Humber ports of Hull and Goole.
The move will support Drax Power’s conversion to a low carbon electricity producer through replacing coal with sustainable biomass. Its power station, located in Selby, is the UK’s largest single producer of electricity, meeting approximately 7% of the country’s electricity needs. It plans to convert three of its existing coal-fired generating units to biomass moving forward.
ABP will invest in handling equipment and storage facilities at Hull in order to handle up to one million tonnes of biomass each year to be supplied to Drax by rail. Warehouse space will also be increased its port of Goole, which is located seven miles from Drax.
ABP will also create an import facility at its Humber International Terminal in Immingham to handle Panamax-size bulk carriers which will service up to three million tonnes of wood pellets a year. The investment will require a new quayside discharge plant to move the biomass from the ships to new silos capable of storing up to 100,000 tonnes.
‘These three investments look set to secure the Humber region’s position as a centre of excellence for the development of the low carbon energy future,’ says ABP’s group chief executive James Cooper.
The project will generate around 100 jobs at ABP’s ports during the construction phase and over 100 permanent positions will be supported once the facilities become fully operational.