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Port Guide - 1996

Location & Access

Associated British Ports' Port of Goole lies at the heart of the UK's transport network, with immediate access to major motorways, rail and inland waterway links. As the east coast's most inland port, located some 80km from the open sea on the River Ouse, Goole offers its customers easy access to all areas of northern and central Britain. The M62 and M18 motorways are within five minutes' drive of the port estate; the port's rail terminals are directly linked to the east coast rail network and the Aire and Calder Canal leads directly from the port to the major industrial centres of west and south Yorkshire.

The port has developed an active marketing strategy highlighting its unique position along the M62 corridor, which makes it the ideal choice for shipments between northern Britain, Scandinavia and other Continental destinations.


In recent years, total tonnages handled at the Port of Goole have shown a marked increase. Since the mid '80s, traffic throughput has gone up approximately 70 per cent.

The port caters for every type of cargo, offering many general cargo berths as well as specialised terminals for the handling of containerised traffic, timber, bulks, cement, cereals, scrap metal and motor vehicles.


The port's impressive throughput in recent times is a result of ABP's continued investment in new and improved facilities, the flexible approach to working practices and the vigorous marketing of the port's wide range of facilities and services.

The Port of Goole is owned and operated by Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK's largest port operator, handling some 25 per cent of the country's seaborne trade through its 22 ports around the country. The Company's confidence in and commitment to the port is highlighted by its investment programme; over the past five years alone, ABP has invested some £10 million, with further capital expenditure proposals under consideration. Recent developments include the construction of Aldam Terminal, the renewal and automation of Ocean Lock gates, the redevelopment of Boothferry Terminal, the provision of additional transit sheds and the acquisition of new cargo-handling equipment.

Container Traffic

In recent years, containerised cargo passing through the port has also shown a remarkable increase.

The Boothferry Container Terminal was redeveloped over several years at a cost of over £5 million, but even this development had become insufficient in meeting the additional volumes of unitised traffic passing through the port. To meet the increased demand, a new container terminal on the site of the former Aldam Dock was built. The project involved the in-filling and sheet-piling of part of the dock, complete resurfacing, the construction of a new access road and the erection of a new storage shed.

The Aldam Terminal was opened in March 1994 and is predominantly used by PAL Line which, since 1977, has provided a regular service to and from the Swedish ports of Vasterds, Norrkoping, Oxelosund and Sédertalje. The new facilities have provided PAL Line with the opportunity to expand their existing services; at least three vessels are now being handled every week. PAL Line has demonstrated its own commitment to providing a first-class service by commissioning four new vessels, all of which became operational in 1995.

The £2.6 million invested by ABP in the construction of the Aldam Terminal has been supplemented by the acquisition of a Liebherr harbour mobile crane, a fleet of new forklift trucks and a new storage shed.

Goole's other principal liner service operator, RMS (Europe) Ltd, is the main operator of the Boothferry Container Terminal. The construction of Aldam Terminal has released more space for RMS to increase the volumes of traffic handled. RMS is now capable of servicing at least three vessels a week, mainly from Germany and Holland.

In addition to the phased re-development of the terminal, recent investments include the purchase by RMS of a Liebherr gantry crane for which ABP provided the civil infrastructure, representing a combined investment of £1.5 million. RMS has also acquired a variety of new container-handling equipment, including reach stackers and heavy-lift fork trucks. 1995 also saw the construction by ABP of a purpose-built storage shed.

Access to Boothferry Terminal is direct from the Goole by-pass, which is linked directly to the M62, a connection which ensures there are no delivery delays to and from the port.

In addition to the two dedicated container terminals, unitised cargoes can be handled by the port's four Scotch derrick cranes and the 50-tonne heavy-lift crane at Railway Dock.

Vessels & Ro-Ro Traffic

The constant water level throughout Goole's impounded dock system makes it the ideal choice for roll-on/roll-off traffics.

Goole is the northern import centre for Renault cars and vans which are shipped through GB Agencies Ltd from Le Havre. Some 50,000 vehicles are handled every year; they arrive on both stern and side-loading carriers. The vehicles are discharged at two newly resurfaced compounds adjacent to the berth and are called forward to Renault's northern distribution centre on the town's industrial estate. Here they are inspected and prepared for delivery to dealers in northern England, the Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Heavy-lift cargoes are a regular feature of the port's traffic and Goole is a designated terminal for the shipment of generators, transformers and other heavy-duty equipment for the electricity supply industry. The strengthened ro-ro berth, situated alongside the town's by-pass for ease of access, can accommodate loads of up to 450 tonnes.

Bulk Cargoes

Goole has maintained its long-established reputation for the efficient handling of bulk cargoes.

At the dedicated terminal at South Dock, operated by Southside Terminals Ltd, solid fuel, fertilisers, materials for the construction industry and animal feed are among the commodities handled. The terminal is equipped with two mobile-grabbing cranes, front-loading shovels and skid-steer loaders; it is designed for high-speed operations, handling up to two vessels a day.

At Ouse Dock, Global Shipping Services Ltd operates a 15,000 sq ft warehouse, with a silo and a weighbridge for the storage, packaging and distribution of bulk chemicals and fertilisers for Kemira Kemi Ltd.

Scrap metal cargoes have become a regular part of Goole's bulk traffic. European Metal Recycling Ltd (EMR) operates a specialised terminal at West Dock, from where general scrap is exported; shipments of stainless steel scrap are imported by Avesta of Sheffield, also at West Dock.

The bulk cement terminal, on the west side of Stanhope Dock, is operated by Damac Bulk Handling Ltd on behalf of NIC. The terminal, which employs self-discharging techniques, has a silo capacity of 6,000 tonnes and handles import and export cargoes of cement to/from Poland, Norway and Denmark.


Timber imports form an important part of Goole's trade. The major handlers of timber products are Global Shipping Services Ltd, who import from the former Soviet states, and Scotline Terminal (Goole) Ltd, whose imported traffic is predominantly from the west coast of Sweden.

Both companies operate at West Dock - Global Shipping Services at the south side, where improvements have been made to the storage area, including an area of covered storage; and Scotline Terminal at the north side, where the company has a dedicated berth and storage area at No. 22 Shed.

PAL Line has also seen increasing quantities of imported timber on their liner service from the east coast of Sweden.


Grain cargoes at Goole are handled by Timmgrain Ltd, a company which operates a twin-berth terminal at South Dock. Timmgrain handles maize, milling wheats and specialised grain products. The total capacity of the company's silos is currently 14,000 tonnes. High-grade added-value products are discharged by grab onto a belt conveyor/elevator and gravity-fed into bins. This technique is designed to keep movement to a minimum and limit breakages of brittle commodities.

Rail Traffic

The reappearance of rail traffic at the Port of Goole has been one of the most welcome developments in many years. The ability to bring full trainloads of cargo directly into the port is clearly attractive to customers, both in terms of convenience and cost and, from an environmental viewpoint, reduces the need for road haulage.

A rail terminal has recently been established to the north of West Dock for the handling of steel slabs from the Avesta works in Sheffield. The slabs are transported the short distance to Aldam Terminal for loading onto PAL Line's vessels for transportation to rolling mills in Sweden.

Waterborne Traffic

The confluence of the River Ouse, the River Don and the Aire and Calder Canal makes it the focal point for river and canal traffic between the Humber Estuary and the industrial centres of West and South Yorkshire.

Steel products arriving at the port on sea-going vessels are loaded onto barges to be transported along the canal to Sheffield: newsprint from Sweden is taken up the River Ouse to York, after being transferred onto 'lighters' at the port

Tanker barges transporting oil from refineries on the Humber to the industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and the north Midlands also pass through the port.

General Cargo

The wide variety of facilities available at Goole enables the port to handle almost every kind of general cargo in whatever form it arrives for export and/or import. Liner services serving Sweden, Germany, Holland, Spain and more distant locations by transhipment concentrate mainly on containers and unit loads.

The port's major liner services are PAL Line and RMS (Europe) Ltd which, in addition to their substantial container traffic, handle a variety of other general cargo such as chipboard, aluminium, stainless steel, paper and fertilisers. PAL Line's and RMS' increased sailings have necessitated the construction and provision of additional storage space. The development of Aldam Terminal has resulted in greater and much improved storage areas for both lines,but to meet the ever-increasing demand, new transit sheds have been built, both at the Boothferry Terminal and adjacent to the Aldam Terminal.

New storage sheds with a total area of 3,400m2 were completed recently at West Dock South for the storage of paper products for Forestrans Ltd and steel products for Thos. E Kettlewell and Son Ltd. . The new sheds illustrate ABP's commitment to providing modern facilities for its customers.

Local Developments

The Port of Goole is constantly striving to provide the best service and facilities for its customers through investment at the port or working in partnership with local business organisations.

A special taskforce, 'Boothferry Enterprise 2000', has been established to underline investment opportunities in the area and to harmonise the marketing efforts of local authorities, the government and private industry. The Port of Goole is an active participant in this initiative.

A recent local authority development adjacent to the port is the reclamation of 35 acres of land at Glew's Hollow. The area is now available for industrial use.

Britannia Food Ingredients Ltd has built an edible-oil refinery which will utilise raw materials shipped through the port, significantly increasing tonnages handled. These new developments reflect the general interest which firms have shown in relocating to the region principally to excellent transpost connections and the facilities the Port of Goole offers.

At your service

Since the abolition of the National Dock Labour Scheme in 1989, there have been dramatic changes in the organisation of dock labour. Regular port users now have the freedom to undertake their own cargo-receiving and delivering at allocated berths, subject to agreement with ABP. Two companies currently operate under general-stevedoring licences: Global Shipping Services Ltd and RMS (Europe) Ltd. Several companies also work under restricted licences.

Associated British Ports employs a highly-skilled maintenance team to ensure the smooth running of port operations; the port's cranedrivers are trained to operate the wide range of equipment available.

A 24-hour VHF radio watch is maintained on Channels 12 and 16 by Vessel Traffic Services (Humber); at Goole, the Dock Master and his staff at Ocean Lock are in touch on Channel 14 to assist vessels in dock and those approaching the port. Pilotage services from Spurn Head to Goole are provided by Humber Pilotage (CHA) Ltd and a deep-water jetty is available as a lay-by berth at Blacktoft, about 12km from the port.

Although normal working hours are from 0800 to 1700 hours (Monday to Thursday) and from 0800 to 1600 hours (Friday), facilities are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by arrangement.

Port services are provided by an experienced, dedicated and enthusiastic workforce, backed up by an efficient administration service. The management team constantly strives to make the optimum use of the facilities at their disposal and to meet the ever-changing demands of port customers.

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