The UK's largest container port, the Port of Felixstowe, has announced plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first dedicated container terminal.
The Suffolk located port has decided to launch a year of festivities to celebrate a remarkable 50 years since their first terminal opened. This intent for a cavalcade of celebrations in 2017 was launched on December 12 2016 by Commercial Director of the Port of Felixstowe, Lawrence Yam.
Felixstowe’s decorated history has been marked by a succession of firsts. Originally known as the New South Quay, the first dedicated container terminal opened in July 1967, initially with just 500ft (152m) of quay and a single Paceco Vickers portainer crane. 2017 will mark this half century anniversary.
Commenting on this momentous milestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of Hutchison Ports Europe, Clemence Cheng said “The Port of Felixstowe has come a long way over the last 50 years. From a single-berth operation with one crane we now have nine berths providing over 3,000 metres of deep-water container quay serviced by 33 ship-to-shore gantry cranes”.
Cheng went on to say “The operation today bears no real resemblance to those early years. The scale and level of technical innovation have grown beyond recognition. But not everything has changed. Felixstowe was chosen in 1967 because of its proximity to the main shipping lanes and the main ports of Northern Europe. That remains a key differentiator but the position today has been improved by the development of road and rail links that are second to none.”
Another constant at the Port of Felixstowe over the last 50 years has been the prospect of growth. The port saw the Languard Terminal opened in the 1970s, and this was followed by the UK’s first post-panamax facility, Trinity Terminal, that was built in phases through the 1980s and 90s with the final, updated phase completed in 2004.
Following this, growth has only continued. Berths 8 and 9 were opened in 2011 and 2015 respectively. The building of these new terminals involved reclamation of land from the River Orwell and includes the site of the New South Quay, bringing the story full-circle and ensuring that the largest containerships in the world are handled where the very first containerships visited 50 years ago!