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Yorkshire, Untied Kingdom




1.5 years




Untied Kingdom
Project achievements

Economy boosted

The larger port means that more services can be offered to attract international customers

Solved the problem

Expand a quay to increase cargo-handling capacity

Used engineering skill

The berth of the quay was deepened to allow larger ships to sail through

Expand a quay at a major cargo handling port

Teesport is a major sea port approximately 5km inland from the North Sea on the River Tees. The port is the third largest in the UK and one of the 10 biggest in western Europe.

The facility handles more than 4,350 vessels and over 27m tonnes of domestic and international cargo every year. One of the few deep-water tidal ports in the UK, it covers 779 acres and plays a large part in the industries of the surrounding area.

Teesport officially opened as Tees dock in 1963, but there has been a port in the area since World War 1 when the Royal Navy built a service depot for its submarines.

The facility has grown considerably over the last 55 years. 1965 saw the last of five berths opened on No.1 Quay.

The port expanded further in the 1970s to meet demands from new chemical processing plants in the area. A second quay – No. 2 Quay – was opened by the Queen in 1977.

Current facilities at the port include two container terminals – TCT1 and TCT2 – each with two berths. There are also three general cargo berths, handling commodities such as steel and dry goods. All the berths are between 10.9m and 14.5m deep.

A major recent development at Teesport saw owners PD Ports reconstruct No.1 Quay and deepen its berth to allow larger cargo ships to use the facility.

The £35m scheme means the port can now accommodate two fully laden 235m-long cargo ships simultaneously in water 14.5m deep.


Stephen Adamson is a CivilEngineer, employed by PD Ports on Teesside. He talks to us from the newly constructed Number One Quay which took 5 years to construct.

Did you know …

  1. No.1 Quay can now support heavier cargo handling equipment. This includes the port’s existing mobile harbour cranes.

  2. Before reconstruction, the quay could only take 2.5 tonnes per square metre. It can now take 10 tonnes per square metre

  3. The new capacity means the quay can now load and unload ships used for the installation of wind farms.

Difference the project has made

The enlarged No.1 Quay can now accommodate two Panamax class vessels 235m-long at the same time. ‘Panamax’ is a term for the size limit of ships that can sail through the Panama Canal in central America.

The deeper cargo berth means Teesport can offer a wider range of services to international customers – bringing more income for the facility.

An increase in business for the port should have knock-on effects for surrounding businesses – boosting the local economy.

How the work was done

The scheme to expand No.1 Quay presented many challenges for engineers. Project managers had to carry out detailed planning to make sure construction didn’t have an impact on the day-to-day running of the port.

The 18-month programme saw engineers demolish 24,000 tonnes of the existing quay deck and use a similar amount of new concrete in reconstruction and expansion.

The project team recycled as much of the old concrete as possible – crushing it onsite for use in the new structure.

Engineers working on deepening the quay berths used a backhoe dredger for the scheme. A backhoe dredger looks like a huge crane mounted on a floating platform. The crane has a scoop which picks up material off a river or sea bed.

The team used the Manu Pekka - one of the largest backhoe dredgers in the world – for the project. The dredger removed around 260,000m³ of material for disposal at sea.

People who made it happen

  • Client: PD Ports
  • Construction engineers: Royal Haskoning DHV
  • Contractors: McLaughlin and Harvey

More about this project