Huge £90m dredging project revealed – this is what it means for ports in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Harwich
- Credit: Archant
Plans for a huge £90m dredging project to increase the depth of Harwich Harbour and support the region’s ports for generations to come have been submitted.
Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) has applied to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for consent to increase the depth of the harbour and approach channel from 13m to 16m.
The proposal would allow for a new generation of mega-vessels to operate throughout Haven Ports, which includes; Harwich International Port, Port of Felixstowe, Navyard, Port of Ipswich and the Port of Mistley
MORE: More than 600 Thomas Cook staff given free holiday by Suffolk firmAnd HHA say the project is vital to maintain Haven's role as the UK's premier container hub and to sustain both employment and economic viability.
"The proposal we have put forward to deepen the harbour and channel is vital to ensure the flow of trade into and out of the UK's largest port facility", said Neil Glendinning, chief executive officer, Harwich Haven Authority.
"The shipping industry is critical to the UK economy with approximately 95% of all British imports and exports being moved by sea and the UK maritime sector contributes in excess of £2bn GVA to the economy.
"Many UK port operators face increased competition for trade and we're keen to ensure that Haven ports remain the premier destination for the global container shipping fleet."
Modern super-sized cargo ships can reach up to 400m in length and while Haven ports can accommodate vessels of such gargantuan scale it is forced to depend on the tide.
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Arrivals and departures are subject to the tide and deep ships arrive and depart one at a time over high water.
By improving access to the harbour, vessels' journeys will be less tied to the tide and HHA will be able to increase the amount of arrival and departures.
Mr Glendinning added: "As the trend to build mega-sized container vessels continues, we need to ensure that we can facilitate the unimpeded arrival and departure of these vessels at the Haven ports.
"We also need to ensure that the local and regional economy continues to benefit from the trade and inward investment that this brings and safeguard jobs for future generations."
Before granting a license to improve the access channel to Harwich Harbour the MMO conduct a public consultation which begin on October 21.