Empty port a sign of the times

IT'S a stark sign of the times - part of Britain's premier port looking like a giant empty car park.

IT'S a stark sign of the times - part of Britain's premier port looking like a giant empty car park.

Landguard Terminal at Felixstowe has been mothballed, mainly because of the recession, partly because it will be demolished to make way for a new deepwater quay.

Forty years ago, this quayside was the scene of the birth of the containerisation revolution in the ports' industry in the UK - the very first purpose-built box terminal.

Now its high-rise ship-to-shore cranes are standing idle, its quayside storage area empty.

With cargo around 16 per cent down due to the global economic downturn - the UK's shops needing fewer goods to sell and its businesses and building trade less raw materials - all the visiting vessels can be handled at Trinity Terminal.

The port has switched Landguard's ships across to the northern part of the port, where they fill the gaps left by the drop in the number of ships visiting and the faster turnaround of those delivering less boxes than usual.

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It means the workforce can be focussed on one terminal, rather than having split workloads at different ends of the 700-acre complex.

For ship-spotters using the viewing area alongside Landguard it means less to look at - binoculars are needed to observe Trinity.

Port chiefs had initially planned to have Landguard operating all the time while the first phase of the new south terminal was built.

It could mean though that Landguard will not see action again until it is extended out into the estuary with deepwater dredged alongside, new cranes and extra back-up land.

The project - originally earmarked for 2014 - will also see the viewing area demolished and rebuilt with extra car parking, heritage centre, toilets and foot ferry berth, in front of Landguard Fort.

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