Southampton docks

Container terminal operator DP World Southampton and Associated British Ports (ABP) have started construction of a new £150m quay at the Southampton docks container terminal in the UK.

The new quay will be built by combining the two existing berths, 201 and 202, to help the container terminal accommodate the next generation of ultra-large container carriers (ULCCs).

The new berth, scheduled to be complete by December 2013, will be 500m long and 16m deep and will be able to handle four 400m vessels of 16,000teu capacity.

Operations at the new quay are expected to start in January 2014 and will be equipped with five ship-to-shore (STS) super post-panamax cranes.

ABP chief executive Peter Jones said: "The £150m investment in the new berth and supporting infrastructure represents a huge vote of confidence in Southampton’s ability to meet the exacting demands of our customers in a new era where ULCCs are set to become quayside regulars."

ULCCs are expected to account for about half the capacity of the world’s container fleet by 2015 as they offer economies of scale.

The construction is part of a plan to increase the cargo handling capacity of the port from two million to 2.7 million teu container boxes by 2020 in order to meet demand.

The main project is expected to cost about £90m, with additional dredging works to be carried out to widen and deepen the main channel between the Isle of Wight and the port, subject to approval from the Marine Management Organisation, expected to bring the total cost up to £150m.

Image: The new quay at Southampton’s container terminal is expected to be complete by December 2013. Photo: Geni.