Multi-millions mean more port capacity

FELIXSTOWE port is to double its cargo capacity, it was announced today as port chiefs released details of yet another multi-million pound expansion project.

By Richard Cornwell

FELIXSTOWE Port is to double its cargo capacity, it was announced today as port chiefs released details of another multi-million pound expansion.

It is boom time at Britain's biggest container port. Business is growing far faster than expected, creating a desperate shortage of space to deal with the growing number of containers.

The port is already operating at full capacity at peak times, a victim of its own success. Sources in the shipping industry say this has meant some ships have had to skip calls because they could not get unloaded.

But today the port gave details of plans to create extra deep-water berths by developing the old P&O North Sea Ferries ro-ro berths and the Dock Basin – the original Felixstowe dock, dating from the 1880s.

This will be in addition to the £80million project to extend Trinity Terminal to be carried out next year. That will provide 270 metres of new quays, 40 acres of extra back-up land and a third railhead.

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The projects will include improvements to the viewing area and a purpose-built berth for the Harwich-Felixstowe-Shotley foot ferry.

While the P&O terminal is changed to deep-water and the Dock Basin is filled and converted, the opportunity will be taken to upgrade the container facilities in the southern part of the port, developed in the 1960s and 1970s.

The quay length available for container handling will be increased by almost 1,000 metres, giving a total south quay length of up to 1,400m – meaning the port will have almost four kilometres of quays in total.

Through the two expansion projects, capacity at the port will increase by 2.5million standard-sized boxes a year to 5.2 m – almost doubling capacity.

Richard Pearson, managing director of the Port of Felixstowe, said: "There is a well recognised need for more container terminal capacity in the UK. It is extremely fortunate a new opportunity to develop these facilities has arisen now.

"This development will enable the Port of Felixstowe to berth more of the latest generation of large container vessels simultaneously, securing our position as a major European hub, and ensuring that UK importers and exporters enjoy the full range of direct-call liner services.

"The further development of Felixstowe is also good news for the local economy and the many thousands of people that rely on the port for their livelihoods."

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