Some of the largest ships in the world will soon be able to visit Southampton after plans to expand its shipping lane were approved. Charlotte Wilkins reports.
An application to to improve access to the Port of Southampton for bigger ships by dredging in Southampton Water and the Solent has been approved. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) siad it gave the project the go-ahead after conducting a full environmental impact assessment.
The works mean the commercial shipping channel will be deepened from its current minimum depth of 12.6m in various parts. The shipping channel will also be widened to 100m in some areas so vessels can pass one another as they enter or leave the port.
Port managers said the works would safeguard jobs and make sure that the Port of Southampton remained a 'competitive and viable deep-sea port into the future.'
This is fantastic news for the long-term future health of the port, for the 12,000 people reliant on it for work and for our customers who can be assured that we will continue to welcome their vessels to the port in the years to come.
"As shipping gets bigger, the port needs to adapt in order to retain its place at the forefront of the industry and to continue to be able to meet our clients’ needs
– ABP Port Director Southampton, Doug Morrison
“The dredging works are just the latest in a series of investments by ABP in safeguarding the future of the Port of Southampton, including the ongoing work to redevelop the container terminal that is so important to the region’s future economic prospects.”
The Business Secretary Vince Cable is in Hampshire today visiting the Port of Southampton and unveiling a plaque at the site's fourth multi-deck car terminal.