Port of Felixtowe Provides Major Boost to UK Economy
The Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, formally opens a new deep water shipping terminal. The new terminal which consists of two berths – Berths 8&9 – is the first stage of a £1 billion plus inward investment programme in Hutchison’s UK ports.
Currently the Port of Felixstowe deals with over 40 per cent of the country’s container cargo with around £60bn of imports and exports passing through Felixstowe each year. The expansion of the port could add a further £20bn to this figure.
Berths 8&9 are the only ones in the UK capable of handling the largest container ships currently on order and the new facility will be equipped with seven of the largest container cranes in the world. Each crane is able to manage ships with containers stowed 24-wide on deck. This capability will allow the world’s largest and most efficient ships to import goods directly to the UK. Added to this, the new state of the art technology being introduced as part of the expansion, will combine greater levels of customer service with reduced carbon emissions.
The new berths will enhance significantly the UK’s supply chain infrastructure. At present large container ships coming from East Asia to Europe only make three or four stops at ports across Europe and with the construction of Berths 8&9, Felixstowe will be one of the ports on the ships’ calling cards.
David Gledhill, Chief Executive Officer of HPUK commented: “As an island nation, a huge proportion of the goods on the high street are imported in containers and more come through the Port of Felixstowe than anywhere else. As container ships get larger it is crucial ports like Felixstowe stays ahead of the game and ensure the UK is ready for the introduction of the next generation of container ships. Failure to provide facilities for the new container ships would mean the world’s most efficient ships could not dock in the UK, driving up the cost of imports and making UK exports less competitive.
“As well as providing a boost to British business the investment programme planned for Felixstowe will also benefit the local area. Over 32,000 individuals are currently employed, directly or indirectly, in the Haven Gateway, of which the Port of Felixstowe is a part. The expansion of Felixstowe will create 1500 new jobs, a massive boon for employment in the region.”
As part of the project the port will construct a third rail terminal in 2012. With capacity for 30-wagon long trains, it will be the longest terminal, of its type, in the UK, doubling the rail terminal capacity at the port and allowing for more goods to be transported across the country year-on-year.
Clemence Cheng, Managing Director, Central Europe of Hutchison Port Holdings (‘HPH’), said: “The Port of Felixstowe was HPH’s first investment outside Hong Kong, and this exciting new development underscores our ongoing commitment to ensuring that it has the facilities to retain its position amongst the world’s leading ports. Our latest investment will help ensure that the UK remains a direct-call destination for the latest generation of ultra-large container ships.”
John Cridland, Director General, CBI said: “Ninety per cent of trade in the UK passes through the country’s ports and the expansion of Felixstowe further confirms the strategic importance of the port for British business. During the last decade many exporters concentrated on the European market, however, economic growth in Europe has slowed considerably, whilst growth in East Asia has accelerated. It is therefore essential that the UK is able to export and import goods on a global basis and the expansion at Felixstowe will be a key asset in achieving this.”
About Port of Felixstowe:
Port of Felixstowe (PFL) is the largest container port in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe. PFL is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group. HPH, a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator. The HPH network of port operations comprises 51 ports, spanning 25 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. Over the years, HPH has expanded internationally into other logistics and transportation-related businesses. These include cruise ship terminals, airport operations, distribution centres, rail services, and ship repair facilities.
Source: portoffelixstowe, September 28, 2011