The £10 million South Quay at the Port of Poole has opened for yacht transfer ships and vessel layovers, with full operations expected to commence in March after final surfacing work.

Construction of the 200m x 40m extension began at the beginning of 2017 with BAM Nuttall as the main contractor, and will enable the Dorset port to handle more and larger cargo and cruise ships.

Construction required 1,700 tons of steel piles, all of which were delivered by sea. The 150,000 cubic metres of sand required for infilling was taken directly from the port’s maintenance dredging scheme.

The first customer to book berthing slots was Cruise & Maritime Voyages for its veteran 160m Astoria (1948/16,144gt) during August and September, with a total of 20 cruise ship calls confirmed this year, and double that figure expected in 2019.

Poole Harbour Commissioners hope to bring in an additional 60 cargo shipments annually, compared to the 150 which call presently. Ball clay, timber, bricks, roadstone and barley are some of the commodities currently handled at the port.

South Quay will also ease the import and export of yachts, with the 2007-built Deo Volente (pictured at Poole) being a regular visitor. Other recent investment at the port includes a new Sennebogen 875E mobile cargo handling crane and new ferry foot passenger gangway for no.3 berth.

Photo and report by Kevin Mitchell