Hutchison Ports announced that the main approach channel and Berths 8 and 9 at Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe have been deepened.
The announcement was formally made during the maiden call at the UK port of its namesake OOCL Felixstowe, the latest in a series of 24,188 TEU mega container vessels operated by COSCO-owned ocean carrier Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL).
The depth of the approach channel has been increased from 14.5m to 16m and Berths 8 and 9 increased from 16m to 18m below chart datum, according to a statement.
Commenting on the improvements, Robert Ashton, chief operating officer of the Port of Felixstowe, said: ‘The completion of this major dredging project reinforces Felixstowe’s position as one of Europe’s leading ports for the latest generation of mega vessels. It provides levels of access that are unequalled anywhere else in the UK.’
He added: ‘The dredge increases the maximum size of vessel we can handle, the berthing windows for the biggest vessels and the number of ultra-large vessels that can enter or leave the port on each high tide. Most importantly, it provides more flexibility and certainty of service for our customers in an industry where delays can be costly.’
The port’s Berths 6&7 were upgraded in 2022 to provide four berths capable of handling vessels of over 20,000TEUcapacity.
Additionally, the main navigation channel is managed by Harwich Haven Authority which appointed a joint venture of Dutch dredging contractors Royal Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord to undertake the £130 million (US$158 million) project.
Photo by Hans Esveldt/shipspotting.com