Associated British Ports Appoints New Head of Commercial, Humber

Associated British Ports (ABP) has announced the appointment of James Leeson to the role of Head of Commercial, Humber.

The move follows a number of significant developments for ABP’s Humber operations, including the announcement that Siemens and ABP will be investing more than £300 million in wind turbine manufacturing facilities at the Port of Hull, a £100 million Humber-wide agreement with Drax Power Ltd, and the opening of the £26 million Grimsby River Terminal.

James’ role will involve working closely with customers to ensure their requirements are met, and also generating new business for the four Humber ports of Hull, Goole, Grimsby, and Immingham.

“Now that both north and south banks have been brought under one directorate I’m looking forward to exploring how we can respond more effectively to the needs of our customers and adding value to their businesses,” said James. “I’m also planning on looking at ways we can exploit the synergies between between the ports themselves in order to meet market demands.”

James, who hails from South Yorkshire, comes to ABP from Inchcape Shipping Services, where he was Global Key Account Manager.

Prior to embarking on a career in the maritime industry, James joined Yorkshire Bank’s graduate trainee scheme and worked at one of the company’s Hull branches before joining a similar scheme at Harrison Line, in Liverpool.

James continued: “I wanted to use the languages I’d studied at university, as well as expand my knowledge of international business, and moving to Harrison Line proved to be a great decision.

“Company policy meant that you would complete the trainee scheme and them go abroad as an owner’s representative. For me this involved spending four years in Puerto Rico working on business development for the container shipping line in conjunction with agents, which was a fantastic experience and very steep learning curve.”

After P&O Nedlloyd (PONL) took over the trading rights to Harrison Line James moved to the PONL head offices in London as Trade Manager for Latin America, before P&O Nedlloyd was itself bought by Maersk. This meant another move, this time to Paris and then onto Madrid, where he looked after refrigeration business in Spain, Portugal, France, and North Africa.

A final move to Tilbury Container Services (now London Container Terminal) saw James’ first involvement with ABP in its former role as shareholder in the company.

“My dealings with ABP during this time were always positive,” said James. “They were, and continue to be, a successful company with traditional values and big plans, and as I was keen to get back into a ports and terminals environment, when this post became available I didn’t hesitate, especially as it meant returning to the Humber.”

ABP Director, Humber John Fitzgerald welcomed James to the company.

He said: “James comes to ABP with a wealth of sector experience and I’m pleased to have him on board.

“This is an exciting time for ABP and for the region as a whole, and I’m confidence James’ knowledge and enthusiasm will enable the commercial team here on the Humber to develop and grow in order to deliver more fantastic opportunities for ABP, its employees, customers, and the communities in which we operate.”

Press Release, July 1, 2014

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