Felixstowe has opened its new deep water terminal, consisting of berths 8 and 9, to take the largest container ships now being built.
The significance of the move was highlighted by John Cridland, director general of the Confederation of British Industry. He said: “Ninety per cent of trade in the UK passes through the country’s ports and the expansion of Felixstowe further confirms the strategic importance of the port for British business.
“During the last decade many exporters concentrated on the European market, however, economic growth in Europe has slowed considerably, while growth in East Asia has accelerated. It is therefore essential that the UK is able to export and import goods on a global basis and the expansion at Felixstowe will be a key asset in achieving this.”
Ships capable of carrying 18,000 teu are now on order and the new terminal is currently the only one in the UK capable of handling them. It has seven of the largest container cranes in the world – each able to manage ships with containers stowed 24-wide on deck.
Large container ships coming from East Asia to Europe only make three or four stops at ports across Europe. Clemence Cheng, managing director central Europe of Hutchison Port Holdings which owns Felixstowe, said: “Our latest investment will help ensure that the UK remains a direct-call destination for the latest generation of ultra-large container ships.”
[asset_ref id=”489″] Berths 8 & 9
Hutchison is investing £1 billion at Felixstowe. Currently the port deals with some 40 per cent of the UK’s container cargo with around £60bn of imports and exports passing through Felixstowe each year. The expansion of the port could add a further £20bn to this figure.
As part of the project the port will construct a third rail terminal in 2012. With capacity for 30-wagon long trains, it will be the longest terminal, of its type, in the UK, doubling the rail terminal capacity at the port and allowing for more goods to be transported across the country year-on-year.
Berths 8 & 9 add 730 metres of quay but the final quay length at the newly configured Felixstowe South development will be 1,285 metres. The development will be equipped with 13 quayside cranes, 50 yard cranes, and will provide a storage capacity of 46,800 teu.
INcluding the existing Trinity Terminal, Felixstowe will be able to provide over four kilometres of deep-water container facilities, with a total capacity o fmore than five million teu a year.