Portsmouth International Port has seen some big changes over the last year. Not only has the name changed (it is no longer known as the Continental Ferry Port – a move designed to reflect an increasing number of cruise ship visits), but its new terminal is now fully finished and operational – a very public statement of the port’s positive view of the future.
The case for investment
Unlike the gleaming new terminal, passengers are unlikely to pay much attention to another key piece of new infrastructure at the port – an extension to one of its oldest berths. Berth two was last extended in 1994 to accommodate P&O’s Pride of Bilbao. Since then of course, ships have grown quite considerably in length. It was decided that the berth needed to be extended by 50 meters to allow much longer vessels to tie up safely. Before the extension, a ship using berth two could have a maximum length of up to 205 meters, now vessels of up to 240 meters can easily use it.
The port is owned and operated by Portsmouth City Council. Managers successfully made a case for the multi million pound investment in the extension project, arguing that it would help secure current customers and attract additional trade as ships continue to grow in size. It was agreed that by making berth two longer, the port would be able to have a greater number of larger vessels docking at any one time, improving flexibility for operators.
Plans and providers in place
Once given permission to proceed with the project, management at the port obtained the necessary harbour revision order and other consents and then went out to tender for the design and build contract. Using a standard Portsmouth City Council prequalification questionnaire, modified to suit the particular requirements for this scheme, six companies were chosen to bid. To make the process fair and transparent each submitted tender was then judged against set criteria. The company with the highest score was chosen. This was TRANT, a Southampton-based firm that has worked at the port before. Structural design was carried out by CSC Engineers of Southampton. Fender design was by the manufacturer QuayQuip Ltd and the Galvanic Anode Cathodic Protection System was designed by Impalloy Ltd UK. The aim for managers at Portsmouth International Port and TRANT was to get the work done as efficiently as possible, without interfering unduly with day-to-day operations at the port. With five berths available for use it was possible to close berth two for the four month duration of the work, allowing clear access for construction.
Constructing dolphin structures
The berth was extended by constructing two new dolphins seaward of the existing berth with interlinking access footbridges, while still allowing port operations to function normally. The form of construction, size, shape, position and fenders were part of the design to achieve a 50 year life, together with a specified automated mooring (and quick release hook) system.
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