Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (HPUK), owner of the Port of Felixstowe, is today [Wednesday 1st February 2006] celebrating the news that the Government has given the go-ahead for the reconfiguration of the southern part of the UK’s largest container port.
The development will see the conversion of the Port’s original Dock Basin, an area previously used by P&O North Sea Ferries, and the existing Landguard Terminal, into a new deep-sea container terminal.
Commenting on the decision, Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, said:
“We are, of course, delighted with the news. There is a substantial and very obvious need for further UK port capacity, to cope with ever-increasing volumes of international trade. This decision is good news for shipping lines and UK importers and exporters, who can now be confident that extra capacity will be brought on stream as soon as possible.”
“The decision by the Government to allow the reconfiguration of Felixstowe South, in conjunction with the development of Bathside Bay in Harwich, could also provide a significant boost for coastal shipping. The combined development would have an ultimate capacity well in excess of any other UK port, and will be able to offer an unrivalled range and frequency of short-sea feeder services to the main feeder ports elsewhere in the UK and near Continent. Together with improvements in rail capacity, this will limit the impact of this important development on the local road network.”
Features of the development will include 1,350 metres of quay dredged to 16m alongside, and an approach channel dredged to 14.5m. An additional 13 ship-to-shore gantry cranes will bring the total number in operation at the Port to 38. An all-new North Rail Terminal, capable of removing up to 500,000 lorries from the roads each year, is included in the plans.
It is expected that the first phase of the new terminal will commence operation in 2008. When fully operational, the Felixstowe South development will create 621 direct jobs, with an additional 860 in associated industries. The Port of Felixstowe, already one of the largest employers in the region, contributes some ¢G70 million to the local economy in wages alone.
As part of the development, HPUK will be upgrading both road and rail connections to the Port. Improvements to the Felixstowe Branch Line and sections of the East Coast Main Line will allow high-cube containers to be carried on standard wagons on the route via Peterborough, and capacity improvements will increase the total number of trains serving the Port. HPUK has applied for an Order under the Transport and Works Act to carry out the branch line work. Subject to the necessary permissions being granted, it is estimated that upgrades would be in place and operational by the end of 2009.
Improvements to the Dock Spur roundabout on the A14 and the A14/A12 Copdock interchange will increase capacity, and enhance safety, at these important junctions.
As part of the development, enhancements are also proposed that will benefit
the whole of Landguard Peninsula. A new visitors’ centre is planned, complete with interpretive displays, educational exhibits, toilets and a cafe. A new viewing area, with increased capacity for 65 cars, will also be developed, as well as a new pedestrian area with coach parking facilities, a bus stop and bus turning circle to allow access by public transport. A permanent landing stage for the Felixstowe-Harwich-Shotley foot ferry is incorporated in the design, and is being developed in conjunction with the Haven Gateway Partnership.
In December the Government announced that it is ‘minded to’ approve HPUK’s development of a new deep-water container terminal at Bathside Bay, adjoining Harwich International Port. The development will create 772 new jobs directly, with 930 in associated industries. It will generate up to 50 million pounds per annum for the local economy.