SIX new straddle carriers have been unveiled at Southampton’s docks as part of a major terminal improvement project.

The carriers have been bought by DP World Southampton for £3.6m and form part of plans to create a new deep sea container berth at a terminal in the city’s docks.

Port owners Associated British Ports (ABP) is spending £150m on the project which will allow the port to receive ultra large container ships.

The new Kalmar straddle carriers bought by DP World Southampton will speed up the process of stacking and moving the containers loaded off the ships.

The diesel electric machines have twin lift capacity, which will increase the terminal’s capacity to undertake twin discharges from underneath its cranes.

Just as work is finishing on the deep sea container berth at the terminal, work is beginning to dredge the main approach channel to the port.

The dredge will enable the deepest and largest vessels in the world – including the latest, 18,000-ton container vessels – to access the port.

In the meantime, performance tests will be carried out on the new straddle carriers, alongside additional installation work before they are ready for operation.

DP World Southampton’s managing director Chris Lewis said: “We are committed to investing in our infrastructure and operational capabilities to ensure that Southampton can continue to meet the needs of our customers now and in the future.

“With the new berth that ABP is building, which will open very soon, and this investment by DP World Southampton in our straddle carrier fleet, Southampton is determined to continue to build on its reputation as the most productive terminal in the UK.”