20 June 2019
Following a major investment in extending its prime commercial berth, the Outer Coaling Pier (OCP) Portland Port has continued to invest in the development of its prime infrastructure. The extension to OCP was opened in April 2017 and enabled the port to handle cruise ships up to 350m LOA alongside. The latest phase has seen dredging undertaken to this key berth to ultimately give a water depth of 11m at CD.
The nature of shipping at Portland Port is changing rapidly; as the cruise business continues to grow the Port has experienced an increasing level of demand from vessels wanting to visit, but the size of these ships is also increasing. Over the last 10 years the numbers visiting has grown substantially from just 4 calls and 2,000 passengers in 2009 to the record breaking figures of 44 ships and over 60,000 passengers in 2019. At the same time the average size of cruise ships calling at Portland has gone from 500 passengers to over 1,400 passengers. This growth has helped drive the need for significant improvement to the port’s infrastructure. In addition to the lengthening and dredging of the berth, improvements have been made to the mooring arrangements on both OCP and the adjacent Deep Water Berth (DWB). These investments mean that Portland Port now has the capability of also accommodating cruise ships up to 260m LOA on DWB.
Ian McQuade General Manager Commercial commented ‘over the last few years Portland Port has reviewed it’s berthing capabilities in line with increasing demand from both the cruise and cargo sectors. These latest works are just the latest stage in an ongoing process. With the capabilities of OCP and DWB now enhanced our focus has moved to the outer arm of Queens Pier where further dredging and extension works are now underway. We are already seeing the reward for the investments made and it is exciting to see everyone’s hard work pay off with the ever increasing number of cruise ships that are choosing to visit Portland Port and the local area. The dredging works that have been carried out now enable us to accommodate bigger ships and also two cruise ships at any given time, this is a trend that the Port is keen to maintain with 7 double call days already scheduled for this year.’
The Port is continually looking to improve its capabilities, essential for its long term success, and has also recently invested in three new gangways and a platform system to enhance its passenger handling capabilities. The port now has 5 gangways ranging from 12m to 29m in length, and the capability to access ships doors up to 10m above the level of the quayside.
Alongside this Portland Port have also actively been working together with the local community to develop and identify a selection of excellent shore excursions that will allow passengers to experience the local heritage and culture. In addition to the ever popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge, Bath and the Jurassic Coast, the local destinations of Abbotsbury Swannery, Sculpture by the Lakes, Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove, The Swanage Railway, The Etches Collection and many, many more showcase the many and varied attractions within the county.