Freight News, Sea

Updated: Guernsey completes port upgrade

[ April 14, 2015   //   ]

Work is almost complete on the repair and redevelopment of freight handling facilities at St Peter Port Harbour on Guernsey. The £14m project included replacing four old cranes with two new ones, and extensive berth repairs and are part of a 190 million overhaul of the harbour.

The main freight area, berths 4 and 5 are both now back in operation for the first time in more than two years and the harbour’s two new mobile cranes can now be fully deployed at the same time.

Contractors are now completing work on berth 6, which serves the neighbouring islands of Sark and Alderney.

Harbourmaster Captain Chad Murray said the work had been completed without any major disruption to port users but carrying out extensive repairs in an operational port had been a challenge. He said: “The need to maintain essential harbour activities while large sections of the existing facilities have been effectively out of commission presented a number of challenges. The fact that we have managed that with no interruptions and without any major disruption to harbour users is an achievement in itself.”

The repair works being carried out to Berths 4 and 5 meant areas normally used for container storage within the harbour’s main freight yard were unavailable throughout the project and a section at the eastern end of North Beach has therefore been used as a temporary trailer park.

In January Guernsey Harbours received planning permission to retain this section of the car park for reconfiguration of the port operating area, in particular to accommodate Condor’s new larger vessel. It is being used to create a larger car marshalling area and trailer compound, to improve traffic flows around the harbour.

The works will increase capacity for freight handling and storage at Guernsey’s only major port. In the longer term, a port master plan envisages development of a new deep water berth at the island’s other major commercial harbour, St Sampson’s, mainly to address the key issue of future fuel imports. The shallow depth and tidal range at St Sampson’s Harbour severely restricts the type of vessel that can currently be used, as they have to be designed to sit on the seabed while being unloaded. This presents significant safety issues for operators and the harbour authorities, and is not expected to be permitted in the long-term.

The Master Plan suggests that this deep water berth could also provide facilities for servicing future offshore wind or tidal turbines.

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