Port of Southampton concludes channel widening programme

Port of Southampton concludes channel widening programme

The Port of Southampton has completed a massive navigation channel expansion work in the Western Docks, allowing the largest cargo vessels to pass the biggest cruise ships berthed in the port.

According to Associated British Ports (ABP), this is the first significant channel-widening project in the port in 10 years.

The works involved the removal of 900,000 cubic metres (m3) of predominately clay based material over a 2 kilometre stretch of the channel, widening it by 30 – 65 metres.

The Engineering and Marine Teams at ABP Southampton oversaw the project, which had been planned for two years.

In addition to thorough navigation simulation exercises to identify the scope of work, complete geotechnical surveys enabled the team to analyse the nature of the material to be removed and the type of dredging equipment to be employed during the project.

READ: ABP, MPA explore green transport collaboration

Divers searched the seabed for explosive munitions and carefully removed maritime debris such as anchors and tyres.

Prior to beginning the dredging project, archaeological sampling was done. To avoid interfering with salmon migration to the River Test, the dredging was completed during the winter months.

Andrew Hallam, ABP Southampton Programme Lead, said: “This project is a considerable investment enabling the world’s largest vessels to enter the port and support the UK’s import and export markets.

“It has been a very complex and challenging project to navigate due to the number of stakeholders and consenting requirements, as well as delivering the project through the winter with several significant weather events.”

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Steve Masters, Southampton Harbour Master, stated: “The container vessels coming into Southampton are the largest in the world, carrying up to 24,000 containers.

“This programme enables the safe navigation of these huge vessels and supports the UK container handling capability. Our thanks are extended to all those involved in the project.”

In March, ABP began construction on the first phase of the Marchwood Port’s ABP Solent Gateway development.

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