Drax’s largest biomass shipment arrives at the UK’s biggest biomass handling facility

Associated British Ports (ABP) and Drax received and unloaded the largest shipment of sustainable biomass to arrive at the Port of Immingham in the UK’s Humber region earlier this week, marking an important milestone for the port and the energy company.

Immingham Port at night

The Zheng Zhi bulk carrier vessel transported 63,907 tonnes of Drax’s sustainable biomass from the US port of Baton Rouge in Louisiana. The consignment supplies Drax Power Station with enough fuel to generate electricity for 1.3 million homes.

The vessel berthed at Humber International Terminal in the port of Immingham – ABP’s largest terminal, on Friday March 13th.

Simon Bird, Director of ABP Humber, said:

“Our colleagues here on the Humber are working hard to keep our homes powered, our stores stocked and keeping Britain trading. A huge thank you is deserved for all those working through this time.

“ABP is working around the clock to ensure the wellbeing of employees and customers and the safe continuation of operations.”

Andy Koss Drax CEO Generation said:

“Drax Power Station is critical national infrastructure at the heart of the UK’s energy system and we take this responsibility very seriously, especially now amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are doing everything we can to ensure that we maintain a continuous, stable and reliable electricity supply for millions of homes and businesses in the UK.

“This shipment of sustainable biomass from our pellet mills in the US – the largest yet – highlights the critical role played by infrastructure such as the ports and rail in our supply chain.”

The Zheng Zhi bulk carrier arriving at ABP Immingham. Its cargo of sustainable biomass wood pellets is destined for Drax Power Station -- the UK's biggest renewable power station.

The Zheng Zhi bulk carrier arriving at ABP Immingham. Its cargo of sustainable biomass wood pellets is destined for Drax Power Station — the UK’s biggest renewable power station. Credit: ABP [Click to view/download]

Over the last decade Drax has converted four of the power station’s six generating units to use sustainable biomass instead of coal. This has transformed Drax, which supplies 5% of the country’s electricity, into the country’s largest renewable power generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Humber International Terminal employs over 100 people and is the world’s largest biomass handling facility. The terminal is part of the Humber ports that have been working hard, 24 hours a day, in keeping Britain trading.

The Port of Immingham is a vital resource and powers one in ten homes in the U.K.


Media contacts: 

Selina Williams
Drax Group Media Manager
E: [email protected]
T: 07912230393

Aidan Kerr
Media Manager – Generation
E: [email protected]
T: 07849090368

Annmarie Sartor
Communications Officer – United States
E: [email protected]
T: +1 318-801-0046

Editor’s Notes

  • The vessel completed loading at the port of Baton Rouge in Louisiana February 23. A cargo typically takes around 17 to 21 days to reach the UK.
  • This vessel is Drax’s 99th ship from its facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. Drax has shipped 5.1 million tonnes from the Louisiana port on the Mississippi River since 2015.
  • Immingham on the UK’s east cost is Drax’s largest import terminal and is part of a supply chain that runs from coast to coast, including capacity at Tyne, Hull and Liverpool.
  • Having import capacity at both the east and west coast adds extra security and resilience to Drax’s supply chain and operations.
  • The vessel is carrying sustainable biomass from Drax’s three pellet mills in the US South, which manufacture wood pellets from sustainably managed forests.
  • Sustainable biomass is an important part of the UK’s long-term energy mix. Using sustainable biomass instead of coal at Drax Power Station has already delivered carbon savings of more than 80% and made Drax Europe’s largest decarbonisation project.
  • The latest Zheng Zhi biomass cargo breaks the previous record of 63,557 tonnes.
  • Video B-Roll of ABP’s biomass operations with Drax at Immingham can be downloaded for broadcast use here.
  • Captions for high resolution photos:
  • Additional photos from Louisiana:

About ABP 

ABP is the UK’s leading ports operator with 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo.

The company contributes £7.5 billion to the UK economy every year and supports 119,000 jobs. Our current investment programme promises to deliver an extra £1.75 billion for the economy every year.


  • Handles over 1.5 million vehicles every year
  • Generates around one quarter of the UK’s rail freight
  • Has 1.4 million square metres of covered storage
  • Has 1,000 hectares of open storage
  • Handles around 90 million tonnes of cargo each year
  • Owns 5,000 hectares of port estate
  • Has 87km of quay

Our five-year investment programme across the group is worth £1 billion. Our investment is designed to respond to the needs of our customers whose business relies on our ports for access to international and, in some cases, domestic markets.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030.

Its 2,900-strong employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.  It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.


Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:

  • Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
  • Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses. 

Pellet production:

Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.

For more information visit www.drax.com