Landmark day for Port of Felixstowe as berth for mega-ships is opened
- Credit: Picture: Stephen Waller
The Port of Felixstowe can now officially host two “mega-ships”, capable of carrying 18.000 freight containers, with an extension to Berth 9 now open.
It was described as a “landmark day” for Felixstowe and the UK shipping industry, as the facility was officially opened today by Suffolk Coastal MP and deputy leader of the House of Commons Therese Coffey.
The extension has, however, already been operational and so far this year more than 80 mega-ships have visited the port.
At the opening, mayor of Felixstowe Doreen Savage, said: “It’s a huge, huge bonus for Felixstowe. It’s adding to the continuing success of the port without which the economy of Felixstowe would not be as vibrant.
“It’s not just the economy of Felixstowe, it’s also tourism. With these massive ships coming in it’s such an attraction. People come here from far and wide to watch them.
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“It’s a wonderful day for Felixstowe.”
The extension was due to be opened by Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin, but who was called to an urgent meeting of the Cobra committee alongside Prime Minister David Cameron this morning.
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Sir Simon Burns, former transport minister and who attended the event alongside Ms Coffey on behalf of Mr McLoughlin, said it was an “exciting and significant day” for the port.
“I’m delighted to have been invited to the opening of this incredible facility,” he said. “I would like to wish the Port of Felixstowe the very best for it’s thriving future.”
Berths 8 and 9 at the port, which opened in 2011, were the first in the UK to handle the latest generation of giant container ships. The quay length of the port’s newest terminal is now 920 metres, and the total quay length in the port nearly 4,000 metres.
It follows the addition of three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes, installed earlier this year to work on the extended terminal, which are capable of working with vessels with containers stacked 10 high and 24 wide on deck. There are now 10 cranes on Berths 8 and 9 and 36 in the port as a whole.
The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the UK, handling 44% of all UK container traffic.