The Port of Felixstowe will today (14th March 2012) hold a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the formal commencement of the new North Rail Terminal project.
Performed by Mike Penning MP, Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the ceremony will be attended by a range of rail freight and local dignitaries, as well as representatives of Volker Fitzpatrick, the contractors for the development.
The new rail terminal will be the third at the UK’s largest container port and is the first in the UK designed to handle 30-wagon long freight trains, capable of carrying 90 TEU (twenty foot equivalent containers). It will be equipped initially with [3/4] Rail Mounted Gantry cranes (RMGs) built by Liebherr, increasing to 6 RMGs when the terminal is working at full capacity.
Clemence Cheng, Managing Director of HPH Central Europe, in welcoming Mike Penning, said:
“This new rail facility is part of the port’s on-going programme of expansion which will further consolidate our position as the leading gateway in the UK for deep-sea container traffic. We already move 750,000 TEU per year by rail and the new terminal will eventually more than double our capacity for intermodal traffic”.
Commenting on the new development, Mike Penning MP said:
“This is a very welcome investment by Hutchison Ports in an important sector.
“It shows that rail freight continues to thrive with private sector investment through difficult economic conditions, bringing benefits to road users and the wider population as well as the customers directly served.
“Along with inland rail improvements, this investment will help to confirm the UK’s attractiveness for direct calls by the biggest container ships for many years to come, benefiting the local, regional and national economies.”
David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said:
“One of the advantages that Felixstowe has over its rivals is that we can already offer shippers and shipping companies much greater choice of destination and frequency of rail freight services than any other port in the country. We currently have 58 train movements a day into the port. These are operated by three of the country’s major Railfreight operators, and connect the port with 17 different inland terminals. The new terminal will provide users with even more choice and allow them to achieve greater carbon savings throughout the supply chain.”
The scheme, which is receiving a £4.2m European grant from the Trans-European Transport Network Programme (TEN-T), follows the successful opening of the first phase of the port’s latest expansion last autumn. The two new deep-water berths, Berths 8&9, have significantly increased the port’s capacity to handle the world’s largest container ships.
Referring to the environmental advantages of the new developments, David Gledhill added:
“What many people fail to grasp is that scale is actually very good for the environment. Felixstowe is the only port in the UK to be able to accommodate the next generation of container ships. These ships will have 50% less emissions than the Asia-Europe average, and the new North Rail Terminal will allow enable us to handle longer and more efficient freight trains.
“The scale of our operations at Felixstowe, which will eventually increase to 8 million TEU per annum with the addition of Bathside Bay, also provides the critical mass to support a wide range of coastal feeder services. Taken as a whole, the range of benefits open to HPUK customers is absolutely unique.”
The Port of Felixstowe currently operates 29 daily services to 17 inland destinations including Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Cleveland, Birmingham, Doncaster, Tilbury, Selby, Hams Hall, Wakefield, Ditton (Widnes), Birch Coppice, Scunthorpe and Bristol.