This is part of more than £650mn of capital investment planned by ABP across its 21 ports. The official ceremony was performed by the four-times Olympic gold medallist yachtsman Sir Ben Ainsley who ordered the loading of a 40ft container on to the CMA CGM container ship Marco Polo, 175,343gt.
The construction of the new 500m long berth has been one of the biggest engineering projects in the south. It is designed to handle the largest and deepest-draft container vessels afloat. Known as DP World Southampton, the terminal is owned 51 per cent by DP World and 49 per cent by ABP.
James Cooper, ABP chief executive of Associated British Ports, said: “The port supports some 14,730 jobs and contributes around £1bn to the economy every year. This new quay is vital to safeguard that and allow us to grow the business.”
The new berth, called SCT 5, is designed to handle the largest vessels in the world, including the new 18,000teu ships that are currently coming into service. It is equipped with four new Liebherr super post panamax cranes, capable of reaching across ships 24 containers wide.