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.

The Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company (FRPC)
The Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company (FRPC) was founded by Colonel George Tomline, a prominent local landowner.
The first FRPC passenger train ran from Westerfield to Felixstowe, but in 1879 this line was transferred to the Great Eastern Railway.
The company title was changed to the ‘Felixstowe Railway and Dock Company’, and powers were given to construct a dock, warehouses and rail sidings. Later in the same year, the company title was again changed, to the ‘Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company’, as it is today.
Work commenced on the dock basin.
The Dock was opened for trade, and the first commercial vessel entered on 7th April.
Colonel Tomline died. The Dock was left to Captain Ernest Pretyman.
A flour mill and grain storage silo were built on the north side of the basin.
Royal Navy Destroyer and Mine-sweeper base.
The port was requisitioned as a Royal Navy Destroyer and Mine-sweeper base.
The port was requisitioned as a Royal Navy MTB and Air Sea Rescue base.
The port was acquired by Mr. Gordon Parker, an agricultural merchant. New warehouses were erected for copra, wheat, maize and sugar. RN oil tanks were leased for the storage of linseed, ground-nut and palm oils.
The port suffered a severe setback when the disastrous East coast floods swept over the entire Dock area, causing extensive damage and destroying the two wooden piers at the basin entrance.
Work commenced on the new East Quay. Bulk grain and liquid tanks were added.
Felixstowe Tank Developments Ltd. was formed. More tanks were added.
Two million cubic feet of warehousing were added. The Felixstowe Cold Store was opened.
The Oil Jetty was constructed, extending 1,100 feet into the waters of Harwich Harbour.
No.1 Ro-Ro berth was completed and made available at all states of the tide.
Building work commenced on Landguard Container Terminal.
The first 500 feet of Landguard Container Terminal, together with one Paceco Vickers Portainer Crane, was completed and in use by 1st July. By March 1968, the remainder of the new container quay (a further 800 feet) had been completed, including one extra Paceco crane, and Ro-Ro berth (No.2 Ro-Ro). In addition, 13 acres of land had been reclaimed.
Work began on a further extension of Landguard Container Terminal. Work also commenced on the development of facilities in the north of the port.
The 700 feet extension of Landguard Container Terminal was completed, and another Paceco crane was added (giving a total of three cranes now in operation). During May, the Southern bypass was completed, diverting dock traffic from the town of Felixstowe. During November, the Freightliner Terminal opened, and No.3 Ro-Ro Bridge on the Northern Development became operational.
The first passenger service, operated by Townsend Thoresen, commenced out of Felixstowe, with a twice-daily service to Zeebrugge.
No.4 Ro-Ro Bridge on the Northern Development was opened on 10th February. During April, the first Tor passenger service commenced to Gothenburg.
The company was taken over by European Ferries Limited.
A purpose-built passenger and freight terminal opened for Townsend Thoresen.
A purpose-built passenger and freight terminal opened for Townsend Thoresen.
Work began on the expansion in the north of the port, which was to double the port’s container handling capacity to approximately 500,000 containers.
With 252,802 containers handled in 1980, Felixstowe became the largest container port in the UK.
In April, the two new terminals, Dooley and Walton, became operational, Walton Container Terminal being a separately operated company, a subsidiary of the Orient Overseas Container Line in the C.H. Tung Group.
Work commenced on a second Railfreight Terminal at the port to serve Dooley and Walton Terminals.
Felixstowe became the first seaport in the UK to introduce computerised Customs clearance.
During 1985, a new Private Bill began its progress through Parliament. This was completed in May 1988 and secured a further 220 acres on the northern bank of Harwich Harbour and the Orwell Estuary for future expansion requirements. Work commenced on Trinity Container Terminal (Phase 1).
Phase 1 of the development became operational in January. This provided the port with 550 metres of quay, and 24 hectares of back-up storage space. A depth of water alongside of 13.4 metres also provided Felixstowe with the ability to handle the largest container vessels in the world. On 7th April, the port celebrated 100 years as a working port.
The port was acquired by the P&0 Group. Felixstowe became the first port in the UK to handle over one million TEUs in one year.
At the end of this year, construction work began on a £50 million project to double the size of Trinity Container Terminal.
In conjunction with the new development, the main approach channel was deepened to 11 metres. The port’s computer system FCP80 was updated, and renamed FCPS (Felixstowe Cargo Processing System).
Trinity Terminal Phase 2 opened.
In August, 75% of the port was acquired by the Hutchison Whampoa Group, Hong Kong. The separately-operated container-handling facility, Walton Container Terminal – owned by Orient Overseas Holdings Limited (OOHL), amalgamated with Trinity Terminal (with 75% of Port of Felixstowe owned by Hutchison Whampoa Limited, and 25% by OOHL).
Dredging work to deepen the main channel to a minimum depth of 12.5 metres started. A new warehouse for Forest Products was completed (94 Shed), giving the port just over one million square feet of warehousing.
Hutchison Whampoa purchased the remaining 25% of the port from OOHL, giving Hutchison 100% ownership of the Port. The port was given the go-ahead to undertake a new 630-metre expansion of Trinity Terminal (Trinity Terminal Phase 3). The A14 dual carriageway, from the port’s entrance to the M1/M6 junction, was completed and opened. In December, the port ordered three new super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes from Morris in Loughborough, thus enabling the port to work across 18-containers-wide fifth-generation container vessels. 49% of all British deep-sea container trade passed through the Port of Felixstowe.
Trinity Terminal Phase 3 was officially opened by their Royal Highnesses, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. The Port handled its two millionth TEU for 1996 on 30th December.
In May, fire destroyed the original Dock Office, which dated back to 1888. In December, for the first time ever, the port handled 200,000 containers on the Rail Terminal in one year.
Hutchison acquired Thamesport on the Isle of Grain, and Harwich International Port, formerly known as Parkeston Quay. The North Rail Terminal was extended by 56 metres and upgraded. Two additional tracks, making six in all, and two new gantry cranes, were installed. The main navigational approach channel was dredged from 12.5 metres below chart datum to 14.5 metres.
In October, a Harbour Revision Order was submitted to the Government to extend Trinity Container Terminal by 270 metres (Trinity Terminal Phase 3.2).
A dedicated rail service for Stora Enso forest products was launched in September, operated by English, Welsh & Scottish Railway Limited (EWS), from the port’s new paper-handling rail facility.
Approval was given, following a Public Inquiry in May, for the Trinity Terminal Phase 3.2 extension. Plans of intent were announced for the reconfiguration of the southern part of the port.
In February approval was given, following a Public Inquiry in 2004, for the Felixstowe South Reconfiguration scheme. When complete, the scheme will provide a quay length of 1,350 metres (Berths 8 & 9), refurbishment and extension of the existing Landguard container park and a new North Rail Terminal. The works will increase port capacity to 5.56million TEUs.
Costain was appointed in May as the main contractor for the Felixstowe South project and, following a major demolition programme, the start of construction was marked with a ceremony held on 1st September. October saw the commissioning on Trinity Terminal of five new ship-to-shore cranes, and a new rail-mounted gantry crane came into operation in November on the South Rail Terminal.
The port celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first commercial vessel working at the port. September 28th saw the official opening of Berths 8 & 9, phase 1 of the new deep-water facility comprising 730 metres of quay with a depth alongside of 16 metres below chart datum and seven ship-to-shore cranes. HRH Princess Anne loaded the inaugural box on to the vessel MSC Esti. Upgrades to the Dockspur Roundabout and Copdock Interchanges were completed.
The opening of a further nine rail tracks was carried out in June by HRH Duke of York, doubling the rail capacity. The new North Rail Terminal allows 30x60ft wagon sets to work on a single track. (The previous North Rail Terminal was renamed as the Central Rail Terminal). In October the port worked the world's largest container ship, the Majestic Maersk on her maiden voyage with a capacity of 18,000 TEU.
Work commenced on 190m quay extension to Berths 8&9.
Work completed on the 190m quay extension to berths 8&9. The port handled over 4 million TEU in a single year.
UK Prime Minister, The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
UK Prime Minister, The Rt Hon David Cameron MP visited the port on two occasion in 2016.
remote control ship-to-shore gantry cranes.
On 18 April 2018 the Port of Felixstowe took delivery of its first two remote control ship-to-shore gantry cranes.
Berths 6 & 7 on Trinity Terminal deepened to 16.5m chart datum increasing the port’s ability to berth multiple mega-vessels simultaneously.
PoF Deepening Complete 2023
Port of Felixstowe enhanced its deep-water berth capacity following the successful completion of strengthening and dredging works to Berth 7 on Trinity Terminal. Berth 7 dredged from 15.0m to 16.5 metres below Chart Datum and the berth box widened from 55m to 70m.
Port of Felixstowe launches OCEAN (Online Container Enquiry Analytics Notifications) a new Online Data Portal to provide fast and accurate real-time information for customers.
Replacing our entire vehicle fleet
Hutchison Ports’ three UK ports set target of 2035 to achieve Net-Zero for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. As part of the decarbonisation journey, 100 autonomous trucks were ordered, delivery of first trucks commenced September 2023.