Posted on December 8, 2020
Harwich Haven Authority has announced that a license application to carry out major improvement works has been approved by the Marine Management Organization (MMO).
This approval decision follows extensive environmental studies and public consultation with stakeholders who have an interest in the Haven and when completed it will have a significant impact on the operations at this East Coast port. Initially costed at £90 million this major dredging project will be financed privately and it will ensure that the Haven ports, particularly the container port of Felixstowe, can operate in the increasingly competitive global container port sector.
The increased depth of the access channel will future proof access for the growing numbers of super-sized container vessels currently in operation and new vessel builds under construction. The deepening of the harbour and approach channels will ensure almost unrestricted access to the Haven ports, which is essential for operators of larger vessels. The current maintained depth in the approaches in 14.5 metres and under the new dredging programme this will be increased to 16 metres.
The dredged approach channels to Harwich Haven extend out to the Sunk area and they mainly serve the container terminal at Felixstowe. Further port terminals are located at Harwich, Parkeston Quay and Ipswich but these do not support deeper draft ships.
Neil Glendinning, Chief Executive Officer, Harwich Haven Authority commented, “I am delighted that the MMO has granted us the licence to carry out these significant improvements to the Haven’s access channel and harbour. This development is critical to the local, regional and national economies and will deliver to our customers the flexibility of access to the port that they need. The global ports sector is increasingly competitive and will become even more so post Brexit so it’s vital that port operators in the Haven can compete as the growth in the number of mega-sized vessels continues.”
It is anticipated that the deepening of the approach channel will allow the largest container ships to access the port at nearly all states of tide and this will greatly extend the functioning of the port. The project will start in 2021, following a tendering process to appoint a contractor to carry out the improvement works.
By Dag Pike