Categories: Associated British Ports, Business, Felixstowe, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn, LowestoftPublished On: 10.08.2020487 words2.4 min read

Building back better: new technology to re-shape region’s ports as offshore demand increases in Norfolk and Suffolk

For centuries, the ports of Norfolk and Suffolk have connected the region to Europe and the rest of the world. Despite changes to new technologies and updated business models, their critical role in UK trade continues to grow.

There’s no denying that the ports and logistics sector is changing rapidly. In the New Anglia region, passenger transport now accounts for just 14pc of local employment opportunities, while freight dominates. The region is home to the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, with King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Ipswich – the UK’s number one grain export port – also playing their part.

For 40 years the ports, along with Norwich Airport, have also supported the growth of the offshore energy sector – something which is only set to grow with the creation of two of the world’s largest offshore windfarms: Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas.

Around 22,500 people are currently employed in the sector, but the transport logistics sector, which incorporates rail, road, air, storage and warehousing is much bigger, employing around 48,700 people in the New Anglia region – just over 6pc of the area’s total workforce.


It is expected that around 25,000 new jobs will be created in the ports and logistics sector between 
2014 and 2024. A significant number of these (around 19,000) will be to replace people who have retired or left the sector, but it is expected that over this time skills will also change as new technologies and changing priorities re-shape demand.

Development is likely in the region’s distribution routes, including road and rail, to bolster the region’s capacity to carry freight – something which already dominates road and rail links in the New Anglia region. Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, handling approximately 40pc of traffic, is one example of this. It’s already largely automated but is expected to make substantial investment over the next few years. Although new equipment can, in theory, be operated from anywhere, new skills will be required to continue operations.

In particular, new jobs are expected in engineering, including electrical engineering, and ICT to cater for the increase of autonomous vehicles and digitally-enabled operations.

Renewable and offshore energy is also key in the sector’s growth in the New Anglia region.


Taking part in work experience at a ports or logistics company is a fantastic way to get a feel for the sector and will help you decide if this is the right industry and career trajectory for you.

Some companies like ABP also offer apprenticeship and graduate schemes, allowing you to learn from skilled and experienced professionals . . . .

. . . . continue reading the article on the Eastern Daily Press website here