29th March 2006
Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (HPUK) is today [29th March 2006] celebrating the news that the Government has given the formal go-ahead for the development of a new container terminal at Bathside Bay in Harwich, to be known as Harwich International Container Terminal (HICT).
The Government announced on 21st December 2005 that it was "minded to approve" the project, subject to clarification on a number of points. This decision follows a Public Inquiry into the proposals that was held from April to October 2004.
The decision by the Government includes a number of conditions, to which HPUK has already agreed, which include the provision of compensatory habitat at nearby Hamford Water, and the upgrade of the A120 road between Hares Green and Harwich.
Commenting on the decision, Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, said:
"We are, of course, delighted with the news. The Government clearly understands the need for further UK port capacity, and has listened to the people of Harwich. Not only will a new container terminal at Bathside Bay provide a significant boost to UK trade, but it will bring much-needed jobs and prosperity to Harwich and the surrounding region."
"Although we have secured the necessary approvals to construct the container terminal, permission is still needed for the required upgrade to the A120. Securing these consents will, inevitably, take some time. Work needs to have begun on the road upgrade before we are allowed to start construction work on the first phase of the Bathside Bay project. This will not be possible before 2009, at the earliest."
To minimise any delay, HPUK launched a Stage One Study in early 2005, in conjunction with the Highways Agency, to evaluate the road and determine what improvements are required. This study should be completed by mid-2006. The Department for Transport will then hold a public consultation on the preferred solution.
The development of HICT will have many benefits for the local area, and the region as a whole. It will provide significant employment opportunities in a priority area for regeneration, creating 772 new jobs directly, and 930 more in associated industries, generating some £50 million per annum for the local economy.
A total of 69 hectares of intertidal mudflats will be lost as a result of the development. HPUK has secured a 138-hectare site at Hamford Water, just one-and-a-half miles from Bathside Bay, to provide compensatory habitat for birds and other wildlife, through alterations to the positions of sea walls. This habitat creation will redress the predicted environmental impact on habitats and birds due to the port development.
In addition to compensatory habitat at Hamford Water, the project will see the creation of a new wetland area alongside the A120, providing an attractive approach to the facility, and an enhanced setting to the town of Harwich. The plans also feature a new landscaped small boat harbour, and public amenity area at Gas House Creek, extending the recreational resource for local residents and providing additional attractions for tourists.
The new container port will offer 1,400 metres of deep-water quayside, with a depth of 15 metres alongside, 11 ship-to-shore gantry cranes, a storage capacity of 52,000 TEUs, and a total capacity of 1.7million TEUs per annum. The terminal will be able to handle four large container vessels simultaneously.
The new terminal will be connected to the rail network, and the development of Bathside Bay, just across Harwich Harbour from the UK's largest container port at Felixstowe, will provide a significant boost for coastal shipping. The combined complex, once developed, will be the only UK hub capable of providing sufficient volumes to support daily short-sea feeder services to the main feeder ports. The increased use of feeder sailings will help relieve the pressure on the country's busy road network.
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Harwich International Port (HWH) is one of the UK's leading multi-purpose freight and passenger ports with excellent road and rail links to the Midlands, London and the South East. It is ideally located for North Sea freight and passenger traffic to and from Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, offering first class ro-ro, ferry, container and bulk operations.
HWH is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). HPH is the world's leading port investor, developer and operator, with interests in 20 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Today, HPH operates a total of 247 berths in 42 ports, together with a number of transportation-related service companies. With industry-recognised core competence in the effective and efficient management and operation of ports, the HPH Group handled 51.8 million TEU in 2005.