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Bridging the future at Portsmouth International Port with new ferry facility

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Linkspan being towed into place at Berth 4 webLinkspan being towed into place at Berth 4

A new more efficient linkspan has just come into operation at Portsmouth International Port, the latest multi-million-pound investment in new facilities at Britain’s Best-Connected Port.

The linkspan, which is best described as a drawbridge for getting vehicles on and off ferries, is now in use at Berth 4. It follows a tightly choreographed operation to install and commission it after a three day sea crossing from Deest in Holland where it was manufactured.

The old linkspan was over 25 years old and had provided a smooth service for 40,000 ferry movements. Using the latest technology and despite being larger in size, the linkspan, part of an overall £9million project, is relatively more efficient than the structure it replaces. This has made it eligible for a EU PECS (Ports Energy and Carbon Savings) grant. The project is receiving in excess of £500,000 in funding from the Interreg 2 Seas programme 2014-2020, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Portsmouth International Port has made a number of major investments over the last decade, including an environmentally friendly airport style passenger terminal and extended berthing facilities. The new linkspan continues a quest to provide flexibility in the future as vessels grow larger and maritime markets change.

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “Portsmouth International Port offers first-class facilities for passengers and we’re continuing to invest to make sure we continue to deliver modern and efficient technology. The new linkspan will be in service for a number of years and offers a reliable service for our visitors.”

Mike Sellers, Port Director at Portsmouth International Port, said “Last year we signed a 10 year agreement with Brittany Ferries, agreeing to continue to work closely together. This new linkspan is a symbol of that partnership, with Brittany Ferries being the primary users of Berth 4. The improvements we make made today will serve their vessels of tomorrow.”

The double decked linkspan will be used by Brittany Ferries’ new gas powered vessel, the Honfleur, when she enters into service next year. The larger environmentally friendly ferry will serve the popular route from Portsmouth to Caen. Powered by Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), it will emit far fewer emissions than conventional fossil fuels.

The new linkspan was designed, engineered and installed by Dutch company Ravestein following a competitive tender process. The company has previously worked on other successful projects at the Port, fabricating and installing the linkspan at Berth 3, and converting the linkspans at Berths 1 & 2 from semi-buoyant to fully-buoyant operations. Ravestein are arranging to take the old double decker linkspan structure back to Holland to be recycled.

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