DP World has announced that Southampton, Britain’s second largest container terminal, will benefit from a major programme of investment in 2021.
Along with London Gateway, another deep-water DP World port, the Southampton terminal was awarded free port status by the government in March.
Free ports have been designated as areas with little or no tax in an effort to boost economic activity. They effectively exist outside the UK’s borders for tax purposes.
The new infrastructure investment totalling £40 million is designed to provide customers with speed, security, reliability and flexibility, DP World said. The upgrade will include:
- The dredging and widening of the berths to ensure the port can continue to accommodate the world’s biggest ships. This project, which was conducted in partnership with Associated British Ports, was completed before Easter and will improve flexibility for customers with immediate effect.
- A £10m investment in a new class of 11 hybrid straddle carriers. These vehicles, which lift containers moved by the quay cranes and then service onward forms of transport via road and rail, consume up to 40 per cent less fuel than diesel-electric powered machines and will be among the most sustainable in the world, DP World said.
- A planned £3m investment in the redevelopment of the yard for the storage and delivery of customers’ empty containers. Once completed this will increase capacity by 25 per cent and create more flexibility for port users.
- A new Border Control Post (BCP), including UK Border Force and port health inspection facilities, to enable multiple government agencies to expedite checks on cargo entering the country.
- A £1.5m extension of a quay crane rail by 120 metres to ensure that the world’s biggest cranes can service all berths at the terminal. Additionally, other quay cranes will be relocated or decommissioned in order to maximise utilisation, speed up quayside loading and unloading, and save customers’ time.
Ernst Schulze, chief executive of DP World in the UK, said: “DP World Southampton is the most productive port in Britain, turns container trucks around faster than any of its competitors and at 30 per cent also has the highest proportion of its containers moved by rail.
“This £40m programme of investment will ensure that our Southampton terminal continues to grow as a major freight and logistics hub.
“Our aim is to partner in our customers’ business success and we are already seeing a surge of interest from companies which want to take advantage of the customs zone and tax benefits resulting from Southampton and London Gateway becoming free ports.”