Site tests start at £500m Avonmouth container port

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

The Bristol Port Company has started detailed site investigation work on its planned £500m Deep Sea Container Terminal.

The Avonmouth terminal project is being overseen by a joint venture, called Construct Bristol Terminal.

This is led by Costain and BAM Nuttall together with dredging specialists Westminster Dredging Co and Van Oord.

Marine consultants Halcrow are also involved.

Bristol Port’s harbour revision order came into force in September, enabling it to proceed with construction of a deep sea container terminal with a 1.2km quay and a capacity in excess of 1m containers.

The study is a big step towards full-scale development of the Bristol deep sea container terminal, although the port owners has yet to firm up a start date.

Simon Bird, chief executive of Bristol Port said: “This appointment emphasises the Port’s commitment to progress this multi-modal transport hub and be in a position to start construction when the time is right.

“When operational, this project will bring cargo closer to the UK population than any other existing or proposed deep sea terminals.”

Four-year construction phase involves

  • 1.2km of quay wall rising to a height of 37m to accommodate the Severn tidal range, providing berths for deep-sea and feeder container vessels.
  • reclamation of 55ha of tidal area for the container handling and storage area and HGV holding and loading area.
  • a 600m breakwater to reduce the effect of tidal currents for the berths and container vessel manoeuvring area.  This reduces the size of the turning area and thus the required volume of dredging during the construction and operational phases.
  • rail terminal and road system linking the new handling and storage area to existing port infrastructure.
  • installation of container handling equipment, navigation aids and lighting, and provision of offices, workshops and warehouses.

The engineering feasibility study will determine whether to use caissons or piled structures for the quay wall and breakwater.

The Port of Bristol, Avonmouth and Portbury docks are already capable of handling large container ships of up to 300m long but these will be dwarfed by a new generation of super ships. The new ultra large container ships (ULCS), will be up to 400m  in length.

These new container ships will operate further below the waterline at 16m “draught” compared with the 14.5m draught current port capacity.

Port bosses say that if it is to remain competitive it needs to be able to handle this large shipping and needs to build a deep-water terminal.

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