The nature of shipping at Portland Port in Dorset, UK, is changing rapidly; as the cruise business continues to grow, the Port’s cargo customers are also seeing a significant growth in activities and there is an increased use of the port by military vessels.
According to the port, this growth in all areas has driven the need for significant investment in to the port’s infrastructure.
The port undertook a major extension to its main cruise and cargo berth, which was opened in April 2017, and dredging is currently taking place to increase the water depth at this berth, Outer Coaling Pier (OCP), to 11 meters.
The dredging of OCP, which is nearly complete, will allow the port to accommodate fully laden Panamax bulk cargo vessels and tankers, as well as cruise vessels up to 350 meters in length.
To further support the port’s growth, the Board of Portland Port have approved in principle, the deepening of the seabed level either side of the Queens Pier outer arm, from 8 meters to 11 meters, reported the port.
To achieve the desired 11 meter depth, a major project must be undertaken to ensure the inherent strength of the berth is maintained. The project will involve sheet piling either side of the berth to maintain the historic context of the structure. Once the sheet piling is in place on either side of the berth, the dredging can then begin.
At the same time the berth will be extended by the construction of a new mooring dolphin, resulting in a facility for berthing vessels up to 230 meters long with drafts up to 10.5 meters.
Once completed this will enable some of the vessels which currently have to be accommodated on OCP and Deep-Water Berth, to be berthed at Queen’s pier outer arm instead, thus increasing the port’s flexibility.
The project is due to begin in the New Year and has been subject to a full competitive tendering process. The successful tender came from CMP Thames Ltd, based in Ringwood. They have undertaken to design, manage and construct the installation by the end June 2019. The formal signing of contracts took place on 12th December 2018.