Number 1 Berth – Eastern Docks

Number 1 Berth – Eastern Docks

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton


Berth 1 at the Eastern Docks (ED1) was designed and installed by MacGregor-Navire (MGN). It was designed to be capable of servicing a wide range of vessels including freight only RoRo’s and car/passenger ferries.


Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection


The berth was manufactured under supervision at the North Sands yard of North East Shipbuilders and floated into Dover on 15th June 1987. The design of the berth was somewhat unique in that the portal was mounted upon and supported by a pontoon. The idea was that the whole installation could be moved to another site if required.


© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (all)


Technical Information

On arrival the berth was ballasted down to the prepared foundation and operationally tested, ie charging and discharging a vessel under different tidal conditions. The linkspan is configured for installation at a 90º corner site. The parameters within which it was designed and its principal characteristics are as follows:

  • for servicing vessels at bow or stern, with or without own ramps and with bulbous or non-bulbous bows
  • for thresholds of 2.3m to 17m above the Dover datum and beams between 16m/34m width
  • for a maximum working gradient of 1.8m
  • for two simultaneous traffic lanes
  • no interruption of load cycle in (a) wave heights of 2m (b) vertical movement bow/stern of plus or minus 0.8m and (c) in list or roll of 5º
  • capable of (a) the full HA loading or (b) 45 units of HB or (c) two lanes of 38 tonne HGV’s closely spaced in convoy. In addition the design ramp capacity incorporates the loadings due to high wind and snow

Principal Dimensions

  • Pontoon: 54m long x 20m wide
  • Main bridge ramp: 60m long (from shore side and hinge to seaward flap) x 9.9m/15.0m wide over splayed end.
  • Clear roadway: 6.7m between kerbs
  • Independently operated seaward flaps: 7.4m long (inc finger flaps)
  • Shore ramp: 7.0m long (inc. finger flaps) x 9.9m wide.
  • Overall dimensions of whole unit in situ: 72m long x 24m wide (both dimensions as measured from the respective quay face).
  • Passenger walkway: 1.75m wide (runs parallel to the vehicle ramp).
  • Light weight, including ramps: 780 tonnes.
  • Pontoon ballast capacity (seawater): 2,740 tonnes.

The machinery room mounted atop the portal structure, houses the electrically driven wire rope winch system by means of which the ramp is supported and vertically adjusted. Hydraulic power is proved by two pumping units both located in the winch house. One is for finger-flap operation, and the other for winch brake operation. Both units incorporate a standby pump.


The Berth In Operation

© Ken Larwood   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Stena Scandinavica © Ken Larwood (left) and Dover Ferry Photos Library (right)

© Mike Jackson  © Nigel Thornton

Argo © Mike Jackson (left) and Saint Patrick II © Nigel Thornton (right)

© Bob Scott  

Seafreight Freeway © Bob Scott (left) and Stena Invicta © Ken Larwood (right)

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

The high speed vessel’s SpeedOne (left) and the Norman Arrow (right) loading at berth 1 © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

The European Endeavour (left) and the Norman Bridge (right) seen loading at berth 1 © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

A case of ‘little and large’ on berth 1. To the left the Cote D’Albatre and to the right the Spirit of Britain © Ray Goodfellow

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

Norman Trader (left) and the European Endeavour (right) © Nigel Thornton


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: The Port of Dover, Mike Jackson, Ken Larwood and Bob Scott for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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