Feature, Freight News, Sea

Felixstowe goes for the double

[ November 5, 2015   //   ]

The Port of Felixstowe can now handle two of the world’s largest containerships simultaneously with the opening of its 190-metre Berth 9 extension on 5 November. First vessel to call at the enlarged berth was UASC’s Al Nasiiyah, herself on her maiden voyage.
At a ceremony to mark the opening, the port’s chief executive Clemence Cheng described the extension as “the latest phase of development at the port of Felixstowe. Our programme of continued investment has ensured that the UK remains a destination for direct calls by the latest generation of mega-ships.”
Cutting the ribbon, deputy leader of the House of Commons Dr Therese Coffey MP pointed out that Felixstowe was the first UK port to handle such ships and the new berth would help UK exports reach overseas markets as quickly as possible.
Some 86 ships in the 18,000teu-plus bracket have called in Felixstowe in 2015, making it the leading UK call for such vessels. The port’s berths 8 and 9 were also the first in the UK to handle new-generation ships and ships of 13,000teu and above now account for two thirds of the port’s container volume.
As well as increasing Felixstowe’s total quay length to nearly 4,000 metres, the port has acquired three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes to work on the extended terminal, capable of working containers stacked 10-high and 24-wide on deck. There are now ten cranes on berths 8 and 9 and 36 in the port as a whole.
Standing in for Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin – called away to attend a meeting of the Government COBRA Committee to discuss the Sharm el Sheikh crisis – former transport minister and local Chelmsford MP Sir Simon Burns described the opening as “another landmark date for UK ports.” He paid tribute to the continued investment by the UK ports industry throughout the recession, saying that it had helped the UK economic growth outstrip that of other leading western countries. He also paid tribute to the UK ports industry’s foresight in predicting the growth in container ship size.