UK port handles 30,000-ton shipment of wood pellets

By Associated British Ports | March 25, 2019

The Port of Hull has recently celebrated a milestone, completing the largest shipment of wood pellets ever handled at Associated British Ports’ Dry Bulks Terminal.

The ABP operations team successfully discharged nearly 30,000 metric tons from the 200 meter Isadora vessel, destined for the Drax Power Station in Selby. The shipment will generate enough sustainable electricity for almost 18,000 homes for a year.

Fully complete in over 77 hours (including stoppages), the weather-sensitive cargo of compressed wood pellets was directly loaded to lorries and the remainder of stock is stored in the state-of-the-art 26 Shed.

ABP Humber Director Simon Bird said, “It’s important to work in partnership with our customers to enable to them to grow and achieve fundamental business objectives.

“Our highly-skilled teams and continuing investment in infrastructure are vital factors in ensuring we can always offer the best possible services to our customers.”

The Port of Hull is home to a dedicated rail-load-out facility for Drax and in 40 minutes it can load a train with 1,600 metric tons of wood pellets. Up to 17 biomass trains per week can deliver fuel to Drax from the Port of Hull.

Drax Head of Logistics Mark Gibbens said, “Developing a supply chain able to deliver the sustainable biomass in the quantities required was central to us being able to convert two thirds of the power station to use biomass instead of coal, transforming the business to become the largest decarbonization project in Europe.

“We have supported investment of £300 million in our port facilities and our operations support 5,700 jobs in the supply chain in the north and contribute £600 million to the region’s economy. The Port of Hull is an important part of the Drax supply chain, and continues to handle biomass for us in a safe and reliable manner.”

The terminal is seeing increased business, and 2018 saw a strong performance with the U.K.'s leading crop production and grain marketing business—Frontier Agriculture.

Frontier Agriculture Operations Director Richard Pollard, said, “Access to efficient import and export services is important to us as it enables us to manage the grain supply chain effectively for our farmer and grain consumer customers.

“ABP has provided vital support to this aspect of our business; handling up to three times more throughput than planned last year and at times exceeding the expected tons-per-hour performance rate by up to 50 percent.”

Other significant terminal investments include the introduction of the new in-house haulage team and state-of-the-art tipper trucks in July 2018.