Dorset

Portland Port unveils bigger cruise ship berth

New cruise berth at Portland Port Image copyright Portland Port
Image caption The new berth will accommodate ships of up to 340m (1,115ft) in length.

Portland Port in Dorset has unveiled a new £3m extended cruise berth that will allow it to accommodate larger ships.

The upgraded facility will allow vessels of up to 1,115ft (340m) in length - it previously could take ships under a length of 985ft (300m).

A spokesman said the work would "future proof" the port's cruise business as the industry continued to grow.

The first vessel expected to use the new extension is the Holland America Koningsdam on 11 May.

Port chief executive Bill Reeves, said: "The berth extension is to future proof our relationship with the cruise lines.

"Cruise lines and their visits are a significant part of our turnover so we have to make sure we can continue to service them and support them well into the future."

The port said it was expecting 24 cruise ships in 2017 - 10 of which will be first time visitors - bringing a total of more than 36,000 passengers.

The engineering project to create the longer berth has taken a year.

Two concrete and steel platforms weighing 1,200 tonnes each have been attached to seven 23m-long piles, 9m-deep in the sea bed.

The berth was officially opened by South Dorset MP Richard Drax

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