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New £26m deep-water port opens in Dorset

A commercial port in Dorset has opened a new deep-water berth as part of a £26m development.

Redevelopment of the deep water quays at Portland Port hopes to enhance its cargo handling and cruise operations as well as its service provision for vessels including those from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The development has been designed to meet the rising demand and keep ahead of the trend for increasing sizes of cruise ships, including liners of up to 350m in length.


Portland Port held a ceremony with more than 150 guests to celebrate completion of the landmark project. The Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell unveiled a commemorative plaque in front of port employees, tenants, dignitaries and other invitees to mark the occasion.


The investment is the largest in the port’s 27-year history and comes as it welcomes a record 130,000 passengers over the coming cruise season.


Bill Reeves, chief executive of Portland Port, said: “This redevelopment is a tremendous vote of confidence in the port and the local economy.


“It is the largest single investment in Portland Port and its infrastructure in its history, and one of the large redevelopment projects in the area in recent years. It sets the stage for significant further growth in the future at the port and for the local economy through jobs and local supply chain.


“I wish to thank all of our partners and contractors for their support during the course of the redevelopment, including members of the local community, our tenants at the port and neighbouring businesses as well as our managing contractor Knights Brown for their exceptional project delivery.


“We’re also grateful to HSBC UK for its support with an eight-figure financial package to enable this work to go ahead.”


Work on the redevelopment with construction company Knights Brown started last September and had to be completed by April in time for the cruise season.


The development involved the removal of the existing deep water berth, and creation of a new, extended berth 250m in length with 12m of water depth alongside capable of handling cruise ships up to 350m long. In addition, the project delivered a 75m extension to port’s Outer Coaling Pier (OCP), used for the handling of dry bulk cargo and also used as a cruise berth, to a length of 250m and 11m water depth alongside.


Overall, the development has used 380,000 tonnes of locally sourced infill material and 4,800 tonnes of steel.


Kevin Valentine, managing director at Knights Brown, said: “I am delighted to see the berth fully operational having been delivered early and on budget. When we embarked on delivering this for the port there were many who thought that it couldn’t be delivered within the required timescale, cost and quality.


“However, through true collaboration between all partners on the project we have achieved everything that we set out to. I would like to thank all of the partners involved in the success of this scheme but in particular Portland Port who had to foresight to understand that true collaboration really does work.”


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