Associated British Ports (ABP) received consent from the Marine Management Organization (MMO) for a dredging project to improve access to the Port of Southampton U.K. This marks the final step in licenses consents and permissions for the project.
Although Southampton has a unique double tide that provides a wide access window for shipping deeper draft vessels calling at facilities such as Fawley Oil Refinery and the container terminal have met with limitations on access.
After the port is deepened from its minimum depth of 12.6 meters (about 41.4 feet) the main navigation channel will be used by commercial shipping at various points along its 25-nautical-mile length. The channel will also be widened to 100 meters (about 329 feet) in some areas to allow vessels to pass each other. as they enter and exit the port.
More than 23 million tons of material will be dredged along the route from the Nab Channel to the east of the Isle of Wight through central Solent and extending as far as the most northerly berth of the container terminal in the Test Estuary.
The material will be taken to a licensed deposit ground located in the English Channel southeast of the Isle of Wight.
ABP has proposed measures to minimize the project’s effects on the environment. As well as managing water quality and monitoring sediment levels a mitigating intertidal habitat plan is nearly complete at Cobnor Point in Chichester Harbour. The plan will provide a new home for water voles a protected species native to Britain’s coast and inland waterways.
“The dredging works are just the latest in a series of investments by ABP in safeguarding the future of the Port of Southampton including the ongoing work to re-develop the container terminal that is so important to the region’s future economic prospects ” ABP Port Director Southampton Doug Morrison said.
In September 2012 ABP launched its £150 million (US$ 227.24 million) redevelopment of Southampton’s container terminal operated by DP World Southampton and announced in November 2012 that it had awarded a £26 million contract part of the £150 million investment project to Liebherr to manufacture four ship-to-shore gantry cranes capable of handling crude oil carriers of 24 containers wide. ABP received the marine license to carry out the necessary channel-widening works at Marchwood in December 2012. On January 29 ABP announced that it had awarded the contract to widen and deepen the access channel at Marchwood to Boskalis Westminster.