Developments at Portland
To cope with the growing number of vessels visiting the port, and their increasing size, Portland Port (UK) is undertaking dredging and pier improvements works to cope with the changes writes Dag Pike.
This growth in all areas has driven the need for significant investment in the port’s infrastructure. The port undertook a major extension to its main cruise and cargo berth, in April 2017, and dredging is currently taking place to increase the water depth at the Outer Coaling Pier to 11 metres. This dredging, which is nearly complete, will allow the port to accommodate fully laden Panamax bulk cargo vessels and tankers, as well as cruise vessels up to 350 metres in length.
Now the Board of Portland Port have approved in principle, the deepening of the seabed level either side of the Queens Pier outer arm, from 8 metres to 11 metres. Queen’s Pier was originally constructed in 1952 using reinforced concrete piles as the berth extended seawards. In 1973 it was further extended using similar design parameters but supported on steel piles.
To achieve the desired 11 metre depth alongside, a major project must be undertaken to ensure that the inherent strength of the berth is maintained. This project will involve sheet piling either side of the berth to maintain the historic context of the structure. Once the sheet piling is in place the dredging can then begin. At the same time the berth will be extended by the construction of a new mooring dolphin, resulting in a facility for berthing vessels up to 230 metres long with drafts up to 10.5 metres. Once completed this will enable some of the vessels which currently have to be accommodated on the Outer Coaling Pier to be berthed at Queen’s pier outer arm instead, thus increasing the port’s flexibility.
The project is due to begin in the New Year and the successful tender came from CMP Thames Ltd, based in Ringwood. They have undertaken to design, manage and construct the installation by the end June. Alex Hayes, General Manager Landside at Portland Port added that “It is great to be working with CMP Thames again after the successful completion of the OCP berth extension last year and to be part of the port’s continuous improvements.”
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