Hutchison Ports (UK) appointed VSBW as principal contractor to extend the existing Berth 9 at Felixstowe by 190 metres. Now complete, the works increased the combined lengths of Berths 8 & 9 to 920 metres, giving the port even greater flexibility to berth the world’s largest container ships. The scope of work included the design and construction of quay walls, earthworks, reclamation and dredging.

The new quay walls were constructed using a range of piling designs, including 2,560mm diameter steel tubular piles, combination walls and sheet piled walls.

Works to create the new berth and its approaches involved dredging more than one million cubic metres of material to enable the steel piled quay wall to be built.

The reclamation of land back from the sea began in April 2014 with the mobilisation of dredging equipment. A piled cell was constructed and filled during tidal conditions. Works to the berth also involved the laying of tracks to enable three new ship-to-shore cranes to operate along the extension.

More than eighty 18,000+TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) ships were handled at the port in 2015. The 190-metre extension has now increased the port’s capability to berth two of the world’s largest containerships simultaneously.

During the tender period, we challenged the client’s exemplar design to optimise the construction method without altering the location or layout of the facilities. Optimisation of the wall design resulted in the selection of a tube to tube solution for the main quay wall. Due to less steel being required, our solution provided a saving of approximately £750k and reduced construction time compared to the combi-wall.

The project was completed on time and to budget and, despite the challenging nature of the works, 361,237 man hours were worked with zero reportable accidents or incidents. The extension was officially opened by Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons in November 2015.

key facts

Hutchison Ports (UK)


April 2014 – November 2015

The project
Completed as VSBW joint venture


For more information about VSBW,
contact Eddie Tattersall

  01772 708 620