The dredge, in Southampton Water and the Solent, will improve the port’s capability to receive the next and future generations of mega-vessels. The main navigational channel will be deepened from a current minimum depth of 12.6 m to up to 15 m at various points along its length of 25 nautical miles. The channel will also be widened to 100m in some areas to allow vessels to pass one another as they enter and exit the port.
Although Southampton has a unique double tide that ensures a wide access window for shipping, the requirement to handle deeper drafted vessels at the port’s deep-sea container terminal has placed some limitations on access.
More than 23 million tonnes of material will be dredged along the route, from the Nab Channel to the east of the Isle of Wight through the central Solent and extending as far as the most northerly berth of the container terminal in the Test Estuary.
“As shipping gets bigger, the port needs to adapt in order to retain its place at the forefront of the industry and to continue to be able to meet our clients’ needs,” said ABP port director at Southampton, Doug Morrison.
“The dredging works are just the latest in a series of investments by ABP in safeguarding the future of the port, including the on-going work to redevelop the container terminal that is so important to the region’s future economic prospects,” he added.