The Port of Felixstowe has today announced its intention to develop additional further deep-water container berth capacity. Following the unexpected decision of P&O North Sea Ferries (‘P&ONSF’) to withdraw its Ro-Ro operations from Felixstowe, an ideal opportunity has arisen to redevelop parts of the Port to provide additional, modern deep-water container terminal capacity. The expansion announced today will be in addition to the Trinity Terminal extension that recently received permission from Government.
The plans involve the conversion of the area previously used by P&ONSF and the now largely redundant Old Dock Basin to container use. At the same time, the opportunity will be taken to upgrade the existing container facilities in the Southern part of the Port, which were developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
The redevelopment will increase the quay length available for container handling by close to 1,000 metres, giving a total quay length of up to 1,400 metres. The extended quay will be equipped to handle the latest generation of container vessels. These facilities will be in addition to 2,500 metres of quay that will be available at the Port’s Trinity Terminal. This will mean that, in future, Felixstowe will provide a total of nearly four kilometres of deep- water container facilities. Total capacity at the Port will increase by 1.5 million TEU, to 5.2 million TEU per annum.
Commenting on the decision, Richard Pearson, Managing Director of the Port of Felixstowe, said:
“There is a well recognised need for more container terminal capacity in the UK, and it is extremely fortunate that 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 upon the Port for their livelihoods. As the project progresses, we will liaise with local interests and ensure that they are fully informed and their views taken into account. An integral part of the initial design is the incorporation of a purpose-built landing stage for the Harwich-Shotley-Felixstowe ferry, which has hitherto been limited to landing on the beach at Landguard Point. Our plans also include an enhanced Viewing Area at Landguard.
“We are keen to get this work underway at the earliest possible opportunity, and will be lodging the appropriate applications for consent as soon as we can.”
Mr Pearson, who is also Managing Director of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, the parent company of both the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port, added:
“Together with our plans to develop new facilities at Bathside Bay in Harwich, to which we remain fully committed, these developments will secure the position of the Haven Ports as the major gateway for the international trade upon which the country depends.”
There are a number of other advantages to a development at Felixstowe. The Port already has the deepest approach channel of any UK container port, and is accessible to the largest container ships afloat. As the development primarily represents the redevelopment of disused facilities, it is also in close accordance with Government policy on sustainable development, and minimises the impact of new port facilities on the environment.
Increasing the capacity of the UK’s largest container port will allow the utilisation of infrastructure, both inside and outside the Port, to be maximised, and has knock-on benefits for regional and national transport planning. Felixstowe is unique in its ability to supply such a major capacity increase for deep-sea vessels within the existing land boundaries of the Port. When complete, the Port will be able to accommodate eleven deep-sea container ships simultaneously.
The Port already has excellent road, rail and short-sea shipping links. The Felixstowe – Nuneaton rail link tops the Strategic Rail Authority’s list of priorities, and improvements to both the A14 and A12 have been recommended as part of the Government’s Multi Modal Study programme.
There are a number of existing Port tenants and customers that will be affected by the creation of these new container facilities, and the Port will be entering into discussions with all of those directly affected in coming weeks.