Expansion work to start at port

AFTER months of preparation, work is about to start for real on the £250 million-plus expansion of Britain's top container port.

AFTER months of preparation, work is about to start for real on the £250 million-plus expansion of Britain's top container port.

Contractors have been busily demolishing at Felixstowe - flattening the Dock Basin area and southern part of the port ready for its transformation into a deep-water terminal.

On Monday September 1 the project will move from preparation to construction - the implementation of the planning permission.

This triggers also a start on some community projects, including the release of the first payment of £40,000 a year for the next decade for improvements to Landguard Nature Reserve and peninsula.

There will be a celebratory ceremony in the Dock Basin conducted by John Meredith, group managing director of Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) - involving the formal start of the filling in of the basin, which was originally dredged in 1882 and has been the heart of the port ever since.

Head of corporate affairs Paul Davey said: “This is an important moment in the project and will be a good opportunity to update everyone on progress so far and what will be happening over the next few months.

Most Read

“We are very pleased with the way preparations have been going and everyone is looking forward to construction now.”

Preparatory work by contractors Costain Ltd included demolishing the old flour mill, which stood at the Dock Basin for a century and was one of the resort's landmarks.

A number of warehouses and storage sheds have also been knocked down, plus other small buildings, and the oil jetty and pipeline taken out of action.

Tugs which used to berth in the basin have been moved to the southern end of Landguard terminal and a new temporary pontoon.

When complete the expansion project will create four new deep-water berths for the world's largest container ships and increase capacity at the port by 50 per cent to 5.3 million standard-sized boxes a year.

There will be a new quay of 1,285 metres with 16 metre deep water alongside, and it will be equipped with 13 ship-to-shore cranes.

The first berths will be available in April 2010, with phase one - 730m of quay - fully operational by September that year.

Phase two is currently expected to be operational by 2014 and will include dualling 4.5 miles of the Ipswich-Felixstowe rail line.

Latter stages of the work will also see a new heritage and visitor centre built at Landguard and a berth for the Felixstowe-Harwich-Shotley foot ferry.