The Port of Southampton has embarked on a major expansion project as the creation of a new berth has gotten underway.

Officials at the south coast dock were present at a ceremony which saw the first paving slab being laid at the new facility which is designed to significantly improve logistics at Southampton. The £150 million development is a major signal of intent from both Associated British Ports (ABP) and DP World Southampton, which take control of the container operations at the dock. This will also allow the UK to once again improve its infrastructure for businesses looking to use the country for import and export.

The construction of 201/202 berths at the container terminal will allow Southampton to accommodate some of the world's largest cargo ships which are frequently visiting the likes of Felixstowe. The Suffolk dock has also been performing positively in recent weeks as officials revealed that the port had smashed through its own record for loading and unloading following a visit from Danish liner Maersk's Sarnia vessel. Workers managed to manoeuvre 3,341 boxes in a single 12-hour shift, showing the increased efficiency of the dock's logistics.

Southampton's development will not only provide a major boost to the dock itself but also to the city. Officials at ABP and DP World Southampton stated that around 10,000 jobs will be created off the back of this construction project, giving employment levels a shot in the arm.

Peter Jones, chief executive of ABP, said: "This is a significant investment for ABP and a major step forward in our plans to further develop the Port of Southampton, with its international reputation for competitiveness and ability to respond to customer needs.

"The £150 million investment in the new berth and supporting infrastructure represents a huge vote of confidence in Southampton’s ability to meet the exacting demands of our customers."

The berth is expected to be completed by December 2013 with ships able to use the facility by January 2014.

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