SOUTHAMPTON'S skyline will soon have two new landmarks that will tower as high as the London Eye.

Two new quay cranes on order for the container port will stand at 138 metres (459 foot) tall – as high as the London Eye and 28 metres taller than the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth when they are in their resting position with their booms raised.

The new cranes will be more than five metres higher than any other crane in the port and far taller than the city's loftiest permanent structure, the 80m (262ft) high Moreseby Tower in Admirals Quay.

DP World Southampton, which owns the container port, has ordered two super post-panamax quay cranes for delivery in 2018.

As reported previously in the Echo, Dubai-based DP World has taken over an extra 11 hectares of land to expand the container port, already the second largest in the UK.

Nine new straddle carriers – which carry containers to and from the stacks – arrived this week from Poland and a further eight are on order.

Some of the new carriers are twin lifts, capable of moving two containers at a time.

Nick Loader, chief executive officer of DP World Southampton, said the new cranes were needed to cope with the increasingly large ships docking at the port some capable of carrying almost 20,000 containers, known as TEUs (Twenty Feet Equivalent Unit).

“Container ships are getting bigger all the time.,” he said.

“The size of container ships importing and exporting goods around the world has nearly doubled in just under 10 years. The world’s largest container ships regularly call at DP World Southampton including the MSC Diana at 19,462 TEU. However, there are already 21,000 TEU vessels on order for delivery during 2017.”

The arms of the new cranes will be able to reach across the equivalent width of 24 containers.