Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (HPUK) received the news that the Government has given the formal go-ahead for the development of a new container terminal at Bathside Bay in Harwich to be known as Harwich International Container Terminal (HICT) on 29th March 2006 following the announcement on 21st December 2005 that the Government was “minded to approve” the project, subject to clarification on a number of points. This decision follows a Public Inquiry into the proposals that was held from April to October 2004.
The conditions include the provision of compensatory habitat at nearby Hamford Water, and the upgrade of the A120 road between Hare Green and Harwich.
The £300 million container terminal scheme will make Harwich potentially the second largest container port in the UK enabling the Port to handle up to four deep-sea container vessels simultaneously.
The new terminal will be connected to the rail network, and the development of Bathside Bay, just across Harwich Harbour from the UK’s largest container port at Felixstowe, will provide a significant boost for coastal shipping. The combined complex, once developed, will be the only UK hub capable of providing sufficient volumes to support daily short-sea feeder services to the main feeder ports. The increased use of feeder sailings will help relieve the pressure on the country’s busy road network.
The features of Harwich International Container Terminal will include:
- 1,400 metres of quayside
- depth of 15 metres alongside the quay
- approach channel of 14.5 metres
- 11 Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes
- 44 Rubber-Tyred Gantry Cranes
- storage yard capacity of 52,000 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent unit)
- rail terminal capacity of 462,000 TEUs per annum
It will also lead to the creation of some 772 direct jobs and many thousands more are expected to be created in businesses connected to the port's activities and also in new inward investments by companies seeking to be close to the major port facility.
In February 2010 HPUK made two new applications to Tendring District Council:
- A section 73 application to vary the conditions attached to the 2006 Permission relating to the provision of the A120(T) improvements amending them so that they are delivered when the container terminal becomes operational;
- An application for a replacement permission subject to a new time limit to expire 2021
The Government confirmed in November 2011 that it has no plans to call-in the application requesting more time to commence development. However, the Secretary of State is still considering the section 73 application relating to upgrades to the A120 and a decision is expected mid 2012.
As of May 2010, the port is the base for the installation of the offshore Greater Gabbard Wind farm and Thanet Wind farm in the southern North Sea, and has also been used for maintenance at Gunfleet Sands Offshore Wind farm.