Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Southampton is ready for operations after completion of the £40m dredging project, which deepened and widenedthe approach channel linking international shipping lanes to the port.
With this development, ships with a draught of up to 15.5m will be capable of accessing the Port’s container terminal.
The SCT 5 berth which opened in March has a 500m-long deep-water quay and is purpose built to cater for the largest ships in the world, ABP stated.
It is also equipped with cranes that will be able to reach across vessels 24 containers wide.
Dredging works were part of a larger project to improve capability at the port,which is operated by DP World.
Under the project, more than five million m3 of material has been removed and 20% is being used for the construction of the new breakwater in Cowes Harbour, or deposited in an existing licenced aggregate site for future re-use.
ABP director (Southampton) Nick Ridehalgh 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.
"The success of the port is central to the economy of the city and the region, with the Port of Southampton supporting around 15,000 jobs and generating around £1bn for the economy."
In 2013, Boskalis Westminster secured a contract from Associated British Ports (ABP) for dredging the approach channel.
Image: The Port of Southampton can now handle the world’s largest vessels that stow containers up to 24 wide. Photo: courtesy of Associated British Ports.