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18 October 2023

Mott MacDonald to support major transformation of UK port

Mott MacDonald has been appointed by Associated British Ports (ABP) to support the development of one of the UK’s largest port projects at Port Talbot, strengthening the company’s reputation as a global leader in the maritime sector.

With partner Royal HaskoningDHV, Mott MacDonald will be leading a series of reports on the port at Port Talbot’s design, including the development of a detailed masterplan building on the previous ABP Wales Future Vision. Alongside key environmental and consenting studies, these will look at how the port should be transformed to enable it to serve as a prime hub for the floating offshore wind industry, contribute to decarbonisation of industry in South Wales and play a major role in the socio-economic regeneration of the area.

The port is one of the only harbours in the UK capable of handling capesize vessels of up to 170,000 dwt (deadweight tonnage). Around 6.6M tonnes of cargo and over £760M of trade pass through it every year. This nationally strategic port asset and the considerable areas of brownfield land on the port estate offer significant development opportunities.

ABP aims to ready the port for opportunities presented by floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea alongside those presented by the Celtic Freeport announced earlier this year by the UK and Welsh Governments. These include unlocking the widest possible opportunities for Wales by accelerating innovation and encouraging investment, while fast-tracking modern skills for new green industries and national decarbonisation.

ABP is the UK’s leading ports group, with 21 ports including five in South Wales at Swansea, Barry, Cardiff, Newport and Port Talbot, handling around a quarter of the UK’s seaborne trade. Together with its customers, ABP’s ports support more than £15bn of value from exports to the UK economy and over 200,000 jobs.

The work will be led by Mott MacDonald’s ports team, who will be able to draw on multi-disciplinary expertise from within Mott MacDonald’s Cardiff office and specialist resources from across the company and its partner Royal HaskoningDHV.

In March 2022, Mott MacDonald won several places on ABP’s latest professional services framework, covering a range of disciplines including master planning, conservation and architecture, BIM services and civil engineering as well as renewable energy services.

Commenting on their recent appointment, Ken Norbury – Mott MacDonald’s managing director of transportation (UK and Europe) said:

“We’re delighted to have been selected by ABP as its technical delivery partner for what is the biggest and most transformational port project in the UK right now.

“Locally, the project will help put Port Talbot at the heart of the UK’s green energy revolution and will give skilled local workers the tools to play a key part in that. Nationally, it will act as an incubator for new technologies and renewable energy opportunities, unlocking investment and ultimately leading us towards a brighter and greener future.

“All of this aligns with Mott MacDonald’s purpose to improve society, which is energising for our team who are eager to make an impact.”

Sean Barker, Mott MacDonald’s project director for the project added:

“What excites us most about this opportunity is the clarity of ABP’s vision for Port Talbot – and in particular how their vision aligns with the five strategic themes in their recent sustainability strategy, ‘Ready for Tomorrow’. Ports like this have a crucial role in enabling the UK’s energy transition towards a net zero economy.

“We’re taking the initial steps in what we very much hope will be a long-term relationship. We’ll be taking a collaborative approach and working closely with ABP and Royal HaskoningDHV to drive forward the opportunities and overcome the challenges that a strategic project of this size will bring.”

Graeme Power-Hosking, programme lead for the Future Port Talbot Programme said:

“ABP is delighted to have Mott MacDonald as part of the Future Port Talbot Programme team. ABP has ambitious plans for our port at Port Talbot and this is the first step in this process.

“We see Port Talbot delivering a central role in supporting new green renewable energy industries, including floating offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

“Mott MacDonald’s expertise and unique understanding of the multiple aspects surrounding the delivery of renewable projects, and the partnership with Royal HaskoningDHV, will be crucial to its success. This is a transformational programme with significant potential, and we are excited to being going on this journey together.”

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