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7th February 2022
It has not been plain sailing for Britain’s ports recently as Covid lockdowns, Brexit and supply chain problems have taken their toll on international trade.
Yet the sector is rebounding, and Department for Transport statistics show total freight tonnage in and out of the UK increased by 6% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the period a year earlier.
Moreover, the major operators in the sector are embarking on significant investments in port infrastructure together with new quayside buildings and facilities which are creating some large new construction contracts.
The latest Glenigan Construction Review shows that the value of civils-related ports and harbours construction project-starts were up 124% in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier and accounted for 13% of project-starts during the period.
New freight terminal
In January the UK’s largest port operator, Associated British Ports (ABP) signed a long-term agreement with Swedish ferry company Stena Line to jointly develop a new £100 million freight terminal to accommodate its growth at the Port of Immingham on the River Humber.
Stena runs four daily freight sailings to the Netherlands and the new development should give a boost to the wider Humber region which has seen a boom in trade to the EU since Brexit, according to ABP. A planning application is due to be submitted and work on the new freight terminal - which will be sited in Lincolnshire - is at the pre-tender stage but is set to start later this year and run for three years (Project ID: 22026426).
Meanwhile, some major new industrial building projects are getting underway across ABP’s extensive port estate around the UK. At the Port of Barrow in Cumbria, applications to tender are being taken for an £18 million contract for an 18,000 sq m warehouse facility, where work could start later this summer and continue for nine months (Project ID: 20442520).
Elsewhere at the Port of Cardiff, ABP is considering tenders for a £25 million distribution warehouse covering some 140,000 sq ft as well as associated civils and landscaping across a 24 acre site. Construction work is set to start in March and continue for eight months (Project ID: 21029463).
Contracts for civils contractors
Meanwhile, work to improve and enhance the existing infrastructure at ports is generating new contracts for civil engineering contractors.
Current projects in the sector include a £4 million contract being let by ABP at the Port of Southampton Container Terminal to deepen and widen the existing berths on a 14-month project where work is set to start later this spring (Project ID: 20174763).
Meanwhile at Britain’s largest container port, the Port of Felixstowe, plans have been submitted and tenders returned on a £2.5 million civils engineering term maintenance contract which is set to run over the next five years (Project ID: 21493102).
Directly across the Harwich Haven, the £120 million Harwich and Felixstowe Capital Dredge contract is underway and will run until summer 2023 to improve the depth of a harbour and navigation channel which can accommodate the world’s largest container ships (Project ID: 20074422).
Meanwhile, there are some potentially huge infrastructure projects in the pipeline in the ports sector. In Hull, outline plans have been submitted for the £410 million Humber International Enterprise Park, a manufacturing and logistics scheme with freeport status and involving over 450,000 sq m of new space. Work could potentially start this summer and continue for 10 years. (Project ID: 18299084).
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