Transport firms face extra costs

EXTRA charges on containers to pay for the cost of road and rail improvements when Felixstowe port expands will stay in place “for the foreseeable future”.

EXTRA charges on containers to pay for the cost of road and rail improvements when Felixstowe port expands will stay in place “for the foreseeable future”.

The port last year imposed a new levy on every full box imported to help raise the money needed to dual part of the rail line between Ipswich and Felixstowe, and for work at the A14 dock spur and A12 Copdock roundabouts to handle increased truck traffic.

Government said the port must pay for the work as part of its permission to expand by turning the Dock Basin and Landguard Terminal into a deepwater terminal to take the world's biggest ships.

It adds enormous costs to the expansion project - £87 million for the rail work alone.


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Port head of corporate affairs Paul Davey said: “It will take something like 20 years to recoup the money we are spending on the rail work. I know the charge is not popular, but it is something that we and others have to live with.

“We didn't want to pay £87 million worth of capital towards rail upgrades in the first place but it was made fairly clear by the government - if you don't do that, you won't expand the port.

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“That is the new reality - and it is going to be increasingly the reality.”

The port knew it was going to be asked to contribute to external works but now it had been asked to pay for all the work.

However, other items the port is paying for as mitigating measures for the development, including funding for Landguard nature reserve, a new visitor and heritage centre, ferry berth, cycle tracks, acoustic fencing on the A14, will not be paid for from the infrastructure charge but from the port's finances.

Work to dual a 4.25 mile section of track between Trimley St Mary and Nacton, plus construct three additional 24-wagon sidings within the existing Ipswich marshalling yard, will be carried out in the second phase of the development work, probably between 2012 and 2014.

Chris Lewis, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports UK, said: “We are committed to increasing the share of freight transported by rail through the Port. T

“These works will allow the number of daily trains to increase from 26 to approximately 40, taking hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the region's roads, as well as providing enhanced service and maximum efficiency for existing rail customers.”

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