Harwich Haven Authority has awarded a contract to deepen the Harwich approach channel and the harbour to a joint venture of Dutch dredging contractors,  Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord. With the increasing numbers of supersized container ships facilitating the growing global trade, this project will allow access of the latest generation vessels to Harwich Haven and the Port of Felixstowe, UK.

Deep-water access

The approach channel and inner Harbour will be deepened to a depth of 16 metres from its current depth of 14.5 metres. The additional depth in the harbour and seaward approaches will provide deep-water access, unrivalled in the UK for the growing numbers of super-sized vessels engaged on the essential trades between China and the UK , that visit the Haven ports each year. 

To deepen the channel and harbour a total of 15 million cubic meters of silt, sand and clay will be dredged by a jumbo trailing suction hopper dredger and a large backhoe dredger. The dredged material will be deposited in a designated area offshore. Specialist equipment will be deployed to remove large boulders from the seabed. 

Overview of the Harwich Harbour
Overview of the Harwich Harbour (photo: Harwich Haven Authority)

Vital gateway

The initiative will futureproof the capabilities of Haven Port operators, particularly the UK’s largest container port, the Port of Felixstowe to ensure that it can meet the requirements of customers and of the United Kingdom to keep trade flowing into and out of the country.

Neil Glendinning, Chief Executive Officer, Harwich Haven Authority, commented: 'We are delighted to be working with Boskalis Westminster and Van Oord on our first major capital dredging project in the Haven since 2000.'

Glendinning continues: 'It’s a hugely significant project, not just for Haven port operators but for the wider UK economy. Currently, more than 40% of the UK’s containerised goods arrive in the Haven each year. It’s a vital trade gateway and our investment will ensure it continues to compete with other European ports.'

CO2 emission

The dredging activities will commence immediately with a project duration of maximum two years. The consortium of Boskalis and Van Oord will reduce its CO2 emissions significantly on this project by using a sustainable biofuel.

Paul de Jong on behalf of the Boskalis Westminster – Van Oord Joint Venture, said: 'We are proud to execute this important dredging project to deepen the approach channel to Harwich Haven and allow unimpeded access of the latest generation container vessels to the Port of Felixstowe and are looking forward to working with the Harwich Haven Authority.'

This news item is based on content originally published on the websites of Harwich Haven Authority, Boskalis and Van Oord.