Chairman hopes Great Yarmouth port will be sold to maritime business

Chairman hopes Great Yarmouth port will be sold to maritime business

A maritime boss has expressed his “sincere” hope that Great Yarmouth’s port will be sold to a firm already in the shipping business.

The GYPA board is being slimmed down to just five members and a drive has now been launched to find new members. Mr Pryke said he was keen to recruit people who have a maritime background and can bring real experience to the role.

But he stressed the shake up would not diminish GYPA’s powers as a “backstop” for the private Great Yarmouth Port Company (GYPC), which runs the port and outer harbour.

Mr Pryke said: “We need less people on the board because we have much less to do now.

“We’re a trust port and trust ports are independent statutory bodies but we have to take advice from the Department for Transport and the latest advice from them on boards is that they shouldn’t be as they used to be.”

As part of this representatives from bodies such as the Royal Yachting Association no longer have the ability to put themselves on the GYPA board. And Mr Pryke is now looking for local people to fill the three vacancies it currently has.

“We’re certainly looking for local people if possible,” he added. “We’re looking for mainly, of course, people who know about pilotage and port operation.”

He also hoped a firm with similar skills would step in to buy the port and outer harbour, after it was put up for sale by the international owners of GYPC in June. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Mr Pryke said GYPA had a “vested interest” in the sale as it owned a share of GYPC, but had confidence in the port’s future.

He added: “As with all these things it may mean changes in the management, changes in the emphasis of things. What I sincerely hope is that it’s an existing port operator that will buy it.

“Since we went into this arrangement and got the outer harbour built, that was bang in the beginning of the recession in 2007. And since that time the revenue of the port has doubled.

“In the recession most other ports have gone down dramatically so the harbour was the right thing to do for the benefit of the port as a whole.”

Mr Pryke said there were a number of businesses the port could capitalise on in the future, including contracts for new offshore wind farms and sea rig decommissioning.

He also said a ferry service, which was anticipated to be brought in when GYPC took over, could still happen.

“Infrastructure is the most important thing and I’m confident we have the infrastructure now to make the port very successful.”

This news story was provided by Great Yarmouth Mercury

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