Skip to main content

Southampton Docks: Container Crane

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 7 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the economic consequences of the collapse of the container crane at Southampton docks and of the adverse impact on the ability of the United Kingdom to import shipping containers. [HL1718]

The immediate impact of the collapse of the crane (and the subsequent withdrawal from service of a number of other similar cranes, pending inspection) has been that around 40 per cent of vessels have had to be diverted from Southampton to other European container ports. However, by increasing the productivity of other cranes, Southampton Container Terminals Limited (SCT) has continued to serve the larger turnaround vessels from China and the Far East, minimising the impact on customers and the supply chain.

SCT are working with the crane inspectors and the HSE to ensure that the affected cranes are phased back into operation as soon as possible. In addition, two new “super post panamax” gantry cranes are expected to become operational during June 2008. On this basis, it is unlikely that the incident will have a significant impact on UK container capacity beyond the short term.