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Biggest container ships will miss port
10:23am Wednesday 5th March 2014 in Readers' Letters
D R SMITH (Letters, February 18), refers to “Southampton’s unique geographical and tidal superiority”
as an argument for a container port at Dibden Bay. This is nonsense and if this is the best he can come up with, the chances of a Dibden Bay scheme on the Waterside (ie not in Southampton) are even more of a dead duck than they were when ABP’s plans were thrown out previously.
The fact is the largest container ships do not, cannot, and will not navigate their way up Southampton Water, unlike the situation in Felixstowe, Rotterdam and Antwerp.
This is due to the lack of depth on this approach which cannot be overcome even by the largest dredge because of the distance along Southampton Water, the Thorn Channel and out to the Nab.
And before anyone says “double tide”, this is irrelevant because the tides are simply not high enough.
Container ships sailing in an easterly direction up the English Channel, whether via the Suez Canal or anywhere else, are likely to do so on the south side of the Channel – 80 per cent of the containers on these vessels are bound for the continent of Europe.
Thus the great majority of ships would have to make a special detour to come into Southampton at greater expense in time and money.
As I mentioned previously, the Thames Estuary ports have in place all the necessary permissions for expansion and are better placed geographically to receive these big ships, being more or less opposite the key ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp.
For these reasons, Mr Smith’s suggestion that investors are ready to put billions of pounds into a new terminal at Dibden Bay is absurd.
COUNCILLOR DI BROOKS, Totton (Conservative).
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