Shipping article(s)
November 13, 2023

The Mumbai Maersk has set a new record for the deepest draft vessel to call at Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe.


The port reported that the 20,568 TEU capacity ship arrived on November 11 from Bremerhaven with a draft of 16.8 metres and sailed 24 hours later with a draft of 17.0 metres.


The record was set just four weeks after the UK's largest container port announced the completion of a £130 million (US$161 million) project to deepen the approaches to the port and its main container berths.


The depth of the approach channel was increased from 14.5 metres to 16.0 metres, and Berths 8&9 increased from 16.0 metres to 18.0 metres below chart datum.


"There has been a steady increase in recent years in the number of the latest generation of mega-vessels serving the main shipping route into Europe. The Port of Felixstowe is the best-located UK port for these huge ships, and, working with our partners at Harwich Haven Authority, we deepened the main approach channel and Berths 8&9 to cement further that advantage," said Robert Ashton, chief operating officer at the Port of Felixstowe, commenting on the port improvements.


He noted that the deeper channel provides a level of access matched nowhere else in the country.


"It not only allows deeper vessels to call but also more ultra-large ships to be handled on each tide. With a short channel, close to the pilot station and ports of North Europe, it is better for service, cutting emissions and reducing costs," Ashton added. 


The port's Berths 6&7 were upgraded in 2022 to provide four berths capable of handling the latest 24,000 TEU capacity vessels.


Sarah West, chief executive of Harwich Haven Authority, which has responsibility for the main approach channel and oversaw the recent dredging project, said the deepening of the approach channel was both a significant technical challenge and a major financial investment for the Authority.


"We were delighted with the outcome and are hugely encouraged to see that it is already paying dividends. Harwich Haven and the Port of Felixstowe are the main gateway for UK containerised trade, and by working together, we will ensure we continue to offer the right facilities and highest levels of service to our mutual customers."


The Mumbai Maersk operates on Maersk Line's AE10 service between Europe and Asia.

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