Associated British Ports' Port of Southampton is now ready to handle the biggest ships in the world after a US$63 million dredging project.
Dredgers have completed a capital dredging programme to deepen and widen the approach channel linking international shipping lanes to the port.
The work ensures that ships with a draught of up to 15.5m can access the port’s container terminal.
The SCT 5 berth at the port’s container terminal has a 500m-long deep-water quay and is purpose built to cater for the largest ships in the world.
The dredging is the final piece of the project to enhance capabilities at the container terminal that is operated by DP World.
Nick Ridehalgh, ABP director at Southampton, said: “As the trend in shipping is for ever larger vessels, it is vital if Southampton wants to remain at the forefront of the industry that the port ensures its facilities adapt to handle them.”
SCT 5 was opened in March, 2014 by Olympic gold medal winning yachtsman Sir Ben Ainslie and allows Southampton to offer deep-water berths that can handle the world’s biggest vessels.
Chris Lewis, managing director at DP World Southampton, said: “The main channel dredging will enable container vessels to depart the terminal at 15.5m draught which is very important to our shipping line customers where Southampton is [the] last port of call out of Europe.”