Fourth berth for Heysham

31 Jan 2017

Heysham currently has three linkspan bridges for ro-ro ships

Heysham currently has three linkspan bridges for ro-ro ships

Peel Ports, the owner of the Port of Heysham, UK is planning a £10 million investment in the port that will create a fourth berth for freight and passenger traffic and help operators to respond more effectively to growing demand.

The funding will also see a new pontoon built to support offshore crew transfer vessels, a new port entrance created and various improvements to the port IT and terminal operating systems.

Much of the incentive for this new investment at the port has come from the opening of a new link road connecting the port and the M6 which is one of the UK’s main north/south arterial roads. This new road bypasses the congestion of nearby towns and is likely to lead to hauliers finding Heysham a more convenient port. Heysham is also the closest port for several major offshore infrastructure projects including the proposed National Grid connection of Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria and the Dong Energy Walney Extension wind farm.

Heysham currently has three linkspan bridges for ro-ro ships and these are used to service both passengers and freight traffic with ships crossing the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The new linkspan will also allow the port to accommodate larger ro-ro vessels operating on these Irish Sea routes. The Port of Heysham is one of seven statutory harbour authorities owned and operated by Peel Ports, with deep water harbouring able to accommodate some of the world’s biggest RoRo vessels and numerous daily sailings from providers such as Seatruck, Stena Line and the Isle of Man Steam Packet.

The port has 1,000 metres of quay length and 120,000 square metres of multi-user warehousing. In 2015 around 325,000 units of cargo were transported through the port, a large proportion of which were cars, with Heysham being a key location for vehicle imports and exports. The port employs around 80 staff and has its eyes firmly set on further growth and investments in people, processes and technology.

Port director, David Huck commented “This is a transformational time for Heysham port. We’ve already been working with local partners to maximise the benefits of the Bay Gateway link road project to the community. Now our major investment to increase capacity and flexibility will further strengthen the port’s role as a logistics hub for the region.”

The installation of pontoons for the wind farm support vessels will also facilitate their loading and turn round times making access much easier over the full tidal range. With its availability over the full tidal range the port has been used as a base for support vessels for the offshore oil and gas fields in the Irish Sea but the focus has now changed to wind farm support.

Work has already begun on the new installations and is expected to be completed by October this year.

By Dag Pike

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