Maritime boss urges community to get behind Great Yarmouth port
PUBLISHED: 17:09 27 January 2013 | UPDATED: 17:09 27 January 2013
The man at the helm of Great Yarmouth’s outer harbour has urged those that have questioned the controversial project to get behind it as it faces a tough future.
Jamie Frater, chief executive of Great Yarmouth Port Company – whose trading name is East Port UK - said doubters of the £80m scheme should be helping it succeed, rather than questioning it.
Mr Frater, who took on the top job last May, spoke about his determination to drive the port forward at a speakers event organised by Great Yarmouth’s branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Speaking at Friday’s event he acknowledged there were “a lot of sceptics” but said East Port was “trying extremely hard to prove to the community” the worth of the investment made in the port.
He added: “I know everybody’s got a focus and (will be) watching closely what I’m doing.
“We’re working very well now with the local community, we have regular meetings so that we share things as a port community should do.
“What we should be doing - instead of news articles in the media - is helping each other to drive the success of Yarmouth port.”
Mr Frater admitted that he did not a see a future for the port in the container business and said roll on roll off ferries could be a possibility “one day” but its strengths lay in offshore energy, and manufacturers, developers and construction contacts had shown “significant interest” in Yarmouth.
He said: “What we do see is what we have done well in Yarmouth and that’s support the offshore industry.
“We’ve spent £10m this year, despite economical constraints, on improving the outer harbour, reducing the entrance so that it’s better placed for offshore wind farm and larger vessels that need calmer sea conditions.”
But he said “unfortunately” with time scale for the development of wind farms standing at two to three years, he now faced the hurdle of filling this difficult gap.
“The challenge is what do we do between now and then,” he added. “We have to get out there.
“The emphasis going forward is don’t spent too much time in the office worrying about the business, let’s get out and get the business. In the longer term I see a great future for Great Yarmouth.”
One area he is now looking to target is rig refurbishment, and said a value of up to £3m could be earned by the community while a rig is docked in the town.