Mega-ships record at Port of Felixstowe smashed as 100-plus visit in year

The then world's biggest container ship MSC Oscar arriving at Port of Felixstowe in 2015.

The then world's biggest container ship MSC Oscar arriving at Port of Felixstowe in 2015. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Ship-spotters were able to enjoy seeing a record number of the world’s biggest vessels visiting Britain’s premier container port last year.

Officials at the Port of Felixstowe are confident, too, that numbers of mega-ships rounding Landguard Point will grow even more in the future, with a plan to deepen the water alongside part of the terminal and increase the height of some of its cranes already agreed.

In 2015 the port set a new benchmark with 105 calls by ships of 18,000 standard-sized capacity or above.

However, the record was short-lived with the 106th mega vessel of 2016 arriving at Felixstowe in the first week of October. It is expected the final total for the year when calculated could be more than 120.

This week alone there have been six mega-ships in port – the Matz Maersk, Al Dahna, MSC Erica, MSC Mirja, CSCL Indian Ocean and MSC Mirjam.

Lawrence Yam, Port of Felixstowe commercial director, said: “Hutchison Ports has invested heavily at the Port of Felixstowe to ensure that we were the first port in the UK capable of handling the latest mega vessels and that we remain first choice for these huge ships.

“The facilities we have, the direct access from the main shipping routes and the range of road and rail connections combine to provide the best transport solutions for shipping lines, shippers and receivers.”

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Hundreds of other huge ships are calling, too – bringing goods to Britain for shop shelves, construction and manufacturing from all over the world.

By mid-October 344 ships carrying more than 12,000 standard-sized boxes had berthed.

The port extended Berths 8&9 – a £300million project completed just six years ago – with the creation of a 190-metre finger quay in 2015 to allow it to handle two of the biggest ships at once.

Now berths 6&7 at Trinity Terminal will see the height of 10 ship-to-shore gantry cranes raised and the water alongside deepened to create 18m of water. The Marine Management Organisation has granted permission for the project, which will be completed this year.