The £600 million investment to extend Bristol Port by building a deep sea container terminal has been delayed again – potentially up until 2030.
First Corporate Shipping, which owns Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Docks has this week applied for a ten-year extension to its permissions to build the container terminal.
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It said that the economic conditions were not yet right for it to make the investment.
The new container port would give it the ability to accommodate the very biggest container ships afloat.
Its permission to develop the deep sea container terminal expire in 2020 – it has applied to the Secretary of State to extend that until 2030.
The proposals were first published in 2005.
It was approved in 2010 but the economic crash meant that construction was delayed.
In 2013 the port said that the plans were on hold for at least five years.
Now it appears that there could be considerable further delays, although the port insists that there is sufficient demand for the scheme to go ahead.
Construction will take three years.
A notice published this week said: “BPC considers that the recession has led to a downturn in demand in the short term such that it is now envisaged that the authorised works may not be completed (or all parts substantially commenced) within the ten-year period currently allowed.”
As well as the economic crash of 2008 the opening of the giant London Gateway container port in 2013 has swallowed-up demand in the short-term.
But the Port says that its location close to major markets and top-class rail and road links means that it is the natural choice for future development.
It says there is an imbalance between the established location of UK ports and the distribution of inland container destinations; the inland distance travelled to final destination is increasingly significant for cargo owners.
It adds that Bristol’s new Deep Sea Container Terminal will open up options for new transhipment trade to Ireland and Europe’s Atlantic Seaboard.
There are also significant benefits to the West’s economy.
It is already a major employer, with more than 10,000 jobs directly or indirectly reliant on port-based businesses.
The expansion will generate almost 1,800 new jobs – 1,500 by direct employment and the rest by economic multiplier effects. Some 360 new full-time equivalent jobs are expected during the construction phase
Studies by Bristol Port estimate that the proposed terminal will generate over £114m a year in the local economy through employment and multiplier linkages
First Corporate Shipping last month published its most recent results, for the year until June 2015.
The company, which is owned by Terence Mordaunt and David Ord, reported a rise in turnover to £82.3 million and profits after tax of £15.4 million.