Port of Felixstowe announces fresh expansion project
The Port of Felixstowe is to carry out the work at the newest part of its 700-acre complex on the River Orwell, Berths 8&9.
A 190-metre extension to deep-water Berth 9 was finished around 18 months ago to enable the southern quays to accommodate two of the world’s biggest container ships at one time.
Now extra storage is needed to stack boxes being unloaded from the growing number of mega-ships visiting the port.
Stephen Abraham, chief operating officer of the port, said: “The Port of Felixstowe is the clear UK port-of-choice for the operators of the world’s largest container ships.
“In 2016 we had 137 calls by vessels of 18,000 TEU (standard-sized containers) capacity or above and we expect this figure to increase in 2017.
“Shipping lines choose Felixstowe because of our key location closest to the main ports of North Europe and our proven ability to deliver on their operational needs.
“Doing this in an ever-changing world demands that we constantly review our infrastructure, equipment and working practices to stay ahead of the game.”
The development will see the reclamation of approximately seven acres of seabed in the area behind the finger quay extension of Berth 9 to enable the construction and operation of additional land for container storage and stacking.
It will mean that total storage capacity on Berths 8&9 will increase by nearly 20,000 standard-sized boxes to 52,500.
Across the whole port, storage capacity will be close to 150,000 boxes.
Port officials have announced that in addition to creating additional storage capacity, operations at Berths 8&9 will be improved further with the arrival of two new ship-to-shore gantry cranes.
The cranes – ordered from ZPMC in Shanghai – will be able to handle the largest container ships afloat and are due to be delivered next year.
Berths 8&9 were built in 2012 at a cost of £300million and consent exists to extend them further in a phase two project when the need arises, though at present no date has been given for when that might take place.