Some £150 million is to be invested in the port facilities at Southampton in a new project by Associated British Ports, the port owner and joint venture partner in DP World Southampton – the container terminal operator.
Work has started on the reconstruction of berths 201/202 at the container terminal to combine the two berths into a new fourth berth for the next generation of ultra-large container carriers (ULCCs).
The next generation of 16,000 TEU+ vessels, are 400m long, the quay will be 500m in length with five cranes and 16m depth alongside.
The new berth is required so the terminal can continue to service four of the largest container ships simultaneously. Work is due for completion by December 2013 with the berth being operational in January 2014.
ABP chief Peter Jones said: “The £150m investment in the new berth and supporting infrastructure represents a huge vote of confidence in Southampton’s ability to meet the exacting demands of our customers in a new era where ULCCs are set to become quayside regulars.
And Chris Lewis, managing director of DP World Southampton, said: “The new berth will ensure we remain globally competitive and successful by being able to handle the largest container vessels afloat.”
Dredging works, to widen and deepen parts of the main approach channel between the Isle of Wight and the port, are awaiting approval by the Marine Management Organisation.
As part of the multi-million pound investment programme, up to five ship-to-shore super post-panamax cranes will be installed at the reconfigured berth.
A contract for the works was awarded to VolkerStevin, a specialist in quality construction and project management services, by ABP in July following a competitive tendering process.