May 16 - With construction underway on a GBP115 million (USD 148 million) project to revive the Port of Dover's Western Docks, the UK maritime gateway says it is gearing up to handle greater volumes of heavy and over-dimensional project cargoes.

The first construction stage at the port's Western Docks includes the design and build of two new berths including quay walls and land reclamation, a new marina pier, the marina curve, navigation channel and new lock gates, bascule bridge and capital dredging work.

Speaking with HLPFI, Nick Dixon, the Port of Dover's development manager, said the new quays are being designed to handle heavy cargoes and will be able to accommodate all abnormal load shipments.

Dixon said: "We can handle geared multipurpose ships, as well as ro-ro vessels and barges, and await a consultants report regarding the addition of heavy lift cranes.

Dixon pointed to the five transformers that have moved through the port in the last 14 months, each weighing over 350 tonnes, as evidence that Dover can handle heavy and out-of-gauge cargoes.

The construction of the new cargo terminal, which will replace the existing cargo terminal in the port's Eastern Docks, and marina is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2018, and will go into service in the first quarter of 2019.