Investment for port

CARGO ships may once again become a familiar sight in Newhaven Harbour following a £380,000 port facelift.

CARGO ships may once again become a familiar sight in Newhaven Harbour following a 380,000 port facelift.

The Newhaven Economic Partnership (NEP) has contributed 80,000 to bring the East Quay up to standard for freight arrivals.

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Such ships used to be frequent visitors to the port. However, in the past four years trade died off and the quay and its storage facilities fell silent.

The NEP in connection with Newhaven Port & Properties (NPP) hopes the remedial work on the East Quay will see the return of cargo vessels and make it the bustling place it once was.

Newhaven port manager Steve Buhlman said: 'We do want to encourage cargo back to Newhaven. We hope to sign a contract with a company who will be bringing in cargo, which will include grain, cement, bark and peat, bulk cargo mainly. We have had a lot of strong inquiries and we're feeling pretty optimistic that Newhaven will once again become a busy port.'


Many ship owners were put off from using Newhaven because their vessels would have to sit in the mud at low tide. According to Mr Buhlman the level of dredging would not change. He said: 'We can't dredge much more than we have done before. However, there won't be fruit cargoes any more because the ships that held the fruit were much bigger and went deep into the shore. Those were the ships that had the problems.'

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The NEP has also given 200,000 towards providing a bigger turning area in the harbour for large vessels, including ferries. The size of the harbour at the moment means backing a large vessel out can include some tricky manoeuvres. Enlarging the turning circle opposite the marina will allow ferries and other vessels to leave bow first. It will also mean a reduction in sailing time, so benefiting ferry passengers.

Mr Buhlman added: 'To widen the turning area won't mean we have to demolish anything. We will be extending it from 135m to 155m in width. This will mean dredging out 250,000 cubic metres of mud.'

Work is due to start on the East Quay and turning circle within three weeks and will carry on for approximately three months.

The NEP has also provided 100,000 of single regeneration budget funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) for repair work to the western breakwater.

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Work on the breakwater has already started with Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd placing a contract with Eastbourne company Sovereign Construction. Cracks and 17 holes, which have appeared in the sides, have to be repaired as well as replacing 10 arches along the length of the structure.

Pat Ost, vice-chairman of the NEP, said: 'These three projects are all essential in assisting the port of Newhaven to thrive once more and at the same time protecting the unique environmental coastline the area has.'