Trade picks up at port in time for Xmas

Business has picked up at Britain's biggest port this year - though it is still not back to the levels before the economy went into freefall.

Richard Cornwell

FELIXSTOWE: Business has picked up at Britain's biggest port this year - though it is still not back to the levels before the economy went into freefall.

In recent months, the number of ships arriving has grown steadily as goods have arrived for the shops in time for the Christmas shopping season, a positive sign.

“Last year, shipping lines were saying Christmas had been cancelled because the number of ships and cargo just wasn't there but this year it has been much better,” said head of corporate affairs Paul Davey.


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“We have seen a steady flow of ships just as we usually get each year in these autumn months.”

Officials at the port know it will be some time before the corner is turned and things start getting back to where they were 18 months ago because its fortunes are very much connected to the worldwide trade situation.

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However, it has been pressing ahead with the first phase of its �240 million expansion project to be ready - and ahead of its UK rivals - for when the economy improves.

With shipping companies having orders of 130 vessels at shipyards around the globe for new ships with a capacity of 12,000 standard-sized boxes and above, it needs to have the berths to take these behemoths.

“The water alongside the new quays at Felixstowe South will be greater than any ships currently planned,” said chief executive officer David Gledhill.

“The outreach of the cranes will be wider than any ship planned and the height higher and we have deliberately done that to future-proof Felixstowe.”

Will you be cutting back at Christmas this year? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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