As well as owning and operating Teesport, the Port of Hartlepool and many other sites throughout the UK, PD Ports is the statutory port authority for the River Tees. This responsibility requires PD Ports to ensure safe navigation for up to 5,000 vessels seen annually and maintain the required channel depth for 11 miles up to the Tees Barrage. As part of its ongoing investment in the business, PD Ports has recently significantly upgraded the facilities and assets used to maintain safety on the River Tees including a new system within the Port Operations centre and a new pilot vessel.
A new system upgrade to aid navigation
An upgrade of the vessel traffic services (VTS) system at Teesport has recently been completed which will provide a modern and reliable platform to manage the movement of ships to and from berths on the River Tees.
The previous system was installed 15 years ago and whilst cutting edge at the time, the increasing demand on systems in all aspects of the business meant that PD Ports, as part of its regular review of systems to maintain leading edge capability, was able to schedule a significant upgrade in 2013/14.
An investment of £1.3 million has provided Teesport with a new state-of-the-art VTS system including the replacement of all existing radar equipment at South Gare, Dabholm Beck, Teesport, Hartlepool and Middlehaven. The Port Operations Centre also underwent refurbishment to improve facilities for the employees and modernise the office space.
The procurement of the new system was done in compliance with the OJEU regulations, and resulted in the selection of Kongsberg Norcontrol as the supplier of choice.
The current system was one of their products which made the transition to the upgrade smoother. Finished in six weeks, the upgrade will now provide the Port Operations Centre with modern technology that will have improved accuracy allowing the team to become more efficient and continue to ensure safe movements of vessels on the River.
Teesport welcomes a new pilot cutter
In a ceremony held Thursday June 26 at Teesport the new pilot vessel was officially named Saltholme, after the Middlesbrough RSPB nature reserve, in keeping with its two sister vessels, Coatham and Greatham, which are also named after protected areas.
Following a blessing undertaken by Father Adam Gaunt and Colin Worswick from Mission to Seafarers, Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO, CBE – Vice President Business in the Community, was given the honour of undertaking the christening by breaking a bottle of champagne on the new pilot cutter. She then was taken out for a trip on the River Tees to see the first-class performance of the vessel.
PD Ports has invested over £1M into this new vessel, built by Anglesey based Holyhead Marine Services Limited, which will enable the Tees Bay Pilots to continue to assist Teesport and the Port of Hartlepool.
David Robinson, CEO at PD Ports, commented: “We are constantly looking for ways to invest in the business and improve our services for the customer. This new vessel was essential in keeping the River Tees running safely and efficiently. It has been a pleasure to have Dame Julia Cleverdon at the Port to be part of the official naming ceremony.”
Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO, CBE added: “It’s an honour as Vice President of Business in the Community to launch Saltholme for PD Ports who have done so much to convene business leadership in support of the young people of Middlesbrough through their High Tide Initiative.”
Benefiting from the most up-to-date navigation technology and powered by twin Scania marine diesel engines, the vessel can cruise at 22.5 knots in a wide range of sea states. The vessel has been carefully designed to cope with the extreme weather conditions that can be experienced in Tees Bay with the inclusion of advanced shock mitigation seating.