Third Record in 2022 for Boxes Handled on Single Ship at Felixstowe
The Port of Felixstowe, which is already the UK’s largest container port, has once again broken its record for the greatest number of containers handled for a containership during a single visit. Reflecting the increasing size of vessels and the continuing surge in container volumes, the terminal which is operated by Hutchison Ports has set and broken the same record three times in 2022.
The record is falling in a battle of the ultra-large containerships. The newest mark was set this week with MSC Amelia, a new containership that entered service in 2021. The 228,400 dwt vessel, which is registered in Liberia, is rated with a capacity of 23,964 TEU. At 1,311 feet in length, she is among the largest containerships in the world.
The vessel made a 5-day stop at the UK port during her normal rotation. She had left Asia in February and after transiting the Suez Canal made her first stop in Rotterdam followed by Felixstowe. During her stay on dock, the new record was set with a total of 27,961 TEU handled. She departed the UK port on March 8 proceeding to Rotterdam and then Le Havre.
The record is also notable because it was eight percent ahead of the mark set approximately six weeks earlier when one of her sister ships also made a regularly scheduled stop at Felixstowe. The MSC Diletta, a sister ship in dimensions and age to the MSC Amelia, departed the UK port on January 12 holding the record. During her port call, a total of 25,852 TEU were handled.
Earlier in January 2022, the Moscow Maersk, another 210,000 dwt ultra-large also made her regularly scheduled stop in Felixstowe. While slightly smaller with a capacity of 19,630 TEU, the Danish vessel also set a record with 23,773 TEU handled.
“The increasing size of container ships places great demand on port resources,” noted Robert Ashton, Chief Operating Officer at the Port of Felixstowe. “The logistics of such an operation are immense. We are continuing to invest in the people, infrastructure, systems, and equipment needed to service the growing number of ultra-large container ships on the world’s major trades as well as the increasing volume of containers on each ship.”
Port officials highlighted several steps that are being taken to expand their capabilities to handle larger and heavier containerships. The water depth at Berth 7 was already been increased to 54 feet and they will complete a similar dredging operation at Berth 6 this year while they will increase the depth at Berth 8 and 9 to 59 feet. By 2023, dredging will also be completed in the main approach channel to Felixstowe to a depth of 52.5 feet from its previous 47.5 feet.
In December 2021, Felixstowe surpassed the 100 million TEU mark since the first container arrived at the port. It handled the first Sealand containers in 1966, a year before its first operational container terminal. Today, the port handles more than four million TEUs and approximately 2,000 ships each year.