Cargo ship loading for West Africa voyage at Great Yarmouth

A ship is loading 3,200 tonnes of East Anglian cargo at Great Yarmouth in its first call to the town since the 1970s.

Once loaded with oil and gas related cargo, the Johanna C will embark on a 23 week voyage to West Africa.

The ship's owners say adding Great Yarmouth to their routes will boost industry in Norfolk by giving access to new markets.

And bosses hope their ships will make fortnightly calls to Great Yarmouth.

Kestrel Liner Agencies, owned by Norfolk entrepreneur Andy Thorne, represents the Universal Africa Lines fleet and already has regular calls in Aberdeen.

The addition of a regular Great Yarmouth call would end the haulage of cargo by road between Great Yarmouth and Aberdeen, a huge expense both financially and environmentally.

Andy Thorne, of Kestrel Liners, said: 'It's been a dream of mine to bring ships to Norfolk to combine the two oil and gas centres of the UK.

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'But now we need the support of east coast exporters to help us in bringing our service here to Great Yarmouth regularly.'

Mr Thorne hopes to provide a regular liner service between Aberdeen, Great Yarmouth and Antwerp – enabling them to move oil and gas related cargo to markets in the world including West Africa, the Middle East and South America.

He moved his corporate head office to the county in his first of many actions to promote business in Norfolk.

'I am extremely proud of my team and the support we have received from everyone who had the vision to support me in my endeavours to support local business,' he added.

The Johanna C arrived in Great Yarmouth yesterday and will be loading for three days.

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