At around 170m in length and weighting in at around 18,000 tonnes, the MV Arki was loaded with 30,000 tonnes of milling quality wheat secured from farms across Kent, Sussex and the South East on behalf of Peel Ports’ customer Glencore Grain UK.

It took five days to fully load the vessel, which set off to her final destination in North Africa last week.

Peel Ports London Medway transformed the facilities available at the Port of Sheerness earlier this year to facilitate export market opportunities for Glencore.

This included the creation of new loading facilities, as well as the conversion of a warehouse previously used for paper storage, which has the capacity to store up to 12,000 tonnes of grain at any one time.

Paul Barker, port director at Peel Ports London Medway, said: “We were delighted to welcome our largest agri-bulk vessel to date to Sheerness. Expanding our capabilities to be able to handle different commodities gives us a flexibility that benefits, in this instance, a significant number of farmers based in Kent and Sussex looking for a more convenient route to market.”

The new export route through Peel Ports London Medway has allowed Glencore to export grain quickly and efficiently – ensuring rapid supply to meet customer demands and efficient movement from farms.

Glencore UK managing director, James Maw, said: “UK milling wheat quality is generally high at this time of year and fine harvesting conditions mean the crop from Kent and the South East is exceptionally good.

“However, with few local markets for milling and baking in the region, access to European and global markets is essential in order to realise its full value. Exporting direct from Peel Ports London Medway, has given us a more efficient and effective route to reach these global markets. “

“The fact that we are welcoming such a large bulk vessel less than five months since our first shipment shows the demand for a service such as this in the region.”

“With the help of Peel Ports, Glencore’s international agri-products businesses, and reputation for delivery of quality grain, ensures UK farmers are well placed to take advantage of current market conditions and the competitiveness of our crop in the global market.”

Every shipping consignment is a milestone in moving the UK’s exportable surplus of milling wheat and supporting UK farmers.