The history of the Port of Felixstowe
Founded by Colonel George Tomline in 1875, the Port of Felixstowe began life as ‘The Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company’. Withstanding two World Wars and a number of changes of ownership, in 1966 work began on the New South Quay. Opening on the 1st July 1967, and later renamed Landguard Container Terminal, it was the UK’s first purpose-built container terminal.
The operation today bears no real resemblance to those early years. The scale and level of technical innovation have grown beyond recognition. But not everything has changed. Felixstowe was chosen in 1967 because of its proximity to the main shipping lanes and the major ports of Northern Europe. That remains a key differentiator but since then its position has been improved by the development of road and rail links that are second to none.
Change has been a constant at Felixstowe over the last 50 years. The second phase of Landguard Terminal was completed in the 1970s followed by Dooley, Walton and Trinity Terminal, the UK’s first post-panamax facility, which was built in phases through the 1980s and 1990s with the final phase completed in 2004.
Since then growth has continued. The most recent phase of development, Berths 8&9, was opened in 2011 and was extended in 2015. The creation of the newest terminal involved the reclamation of additional land from the River Orwell but also included the site of the New South Quay, bringing the story full-circle and ensuring that the largest container ships in the world are handled where the very first container ships visited 50 years ago.