Just two weeks after the official opening of Southampton’s SCT5 ultra-large container vessel deep-water berth, work has started on the latest expansion at the Port of Felixstowe – the 190 m extension of Berth 9 that will increase the combined lengths of Berths 8 & 9 to 920 m, giving the port even greater flexibility to berth the world’s largest container ships.
The VSBW joint-venture consortium of VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster, has been appointed as the lead contactor; the initial dredging commenced on 13 April in preparation for construction to begin this summer. The project will involve dredging 1m cubic metres of material to provide the berth and approaches, and enable a new steel-piled quay wall to be built.
Construction of the extension will be similar to that used for the original quay at Berths 8 & 9, using a tubular pile design that will be built to allow the water alongside to be dredged to 18 m depth. Piling of the quay wall will start later in the summer, with construction due to complete in mid-2015. The new extension will be equipped with three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes, each with a 25-container wide outreach.
Commenting on the project, Clemence Cheng, Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited chief executive officer, said: “The scale of operations at the Port of Felixstowe already gives us the ability to berth more large container ships simultaneously than other ports in the UK. The new extension will increase the berthing permutations we can offer and continue to ensure that we turn our customers’ vessels around in the quickest possible time”.