Massive pontoons earmarked for Royal Harbour and Brett’s aggregate site at Ramsgate Port

Pontoon at the East Pier Photo Brian Whitehead

Two huge pontoons are destined for the Brett’s aggregate site at Ramsgate Port and for berthing at the Royal Harbour for offshore wind farm crew transfer vessels, tugs/works vessels and large barges, according to a procurement document by Thanet council.

The authority published a £1.4million invitation to tender on the Official Journal of the EU for bids for a qualified contractor to supply and install the two pontoons or barges.

The invitation appears to have been removed from the Kent Business Portal but remains on the EU website.

Currently two pontoons are moored at the East Pier.

Prior to the arrival of the first pontoon earlier this month Thanet council said: “A large pontoon is scheduled to arrive at Ramsgate Harbour for storage by a commercial customer. The pontoon is likely to be in the harbour for several weeks but the exact timescale is subject to change. Charges for its storage will be applicable, as normal.”

Pontoon with Ramsgate Arts Barge moored to it Photo Mark Stanford

The  ‘Installation of Commercial Floating Berths at Port of Ramsgate and Ramsgate Royal Harbour’ procurement invite states: “One of the berths will be used for the import of aggregates at the Port of Ramsgate and will serve coaster type vessels. This berth will be fitted with an aggregate conveyor by a third party following the completion of the contracted works.

“The second berth will be used for large commercial vessel berthing in the Royal Harbour. Vessels such as offshore wind farm crew transfer vessels, tugs/works vessels and large barges will be served by this berth.”

An aggregate conveyor was also subject to a tender process earlier this year when Thanet council invited bids to replacethe port’s  berth 4/5 with a “ piled structure capable of accepting a permanently fixed 3,000 tonne/hour conveyor… to facilitate future expansion for the landing of bulk cargos, the trafficking of mobile plant and with a lifespan of a minimum of 30 years.”

Photo Brian Whitehead

The pontoons currently at the East Pier are owned by construction and civil engineering company Bam Nuttall and were previously in use during a tunnelling operation in London with the 3 million tonnes of materials excavated used to create an RSPB nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex.

This involved some 1528 shipments to the 1,500 acre wildlife habitat in the project between Crossrail and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

A statutory notice for the purchase of  pontoons by Thanet council was issued in August with a decision by council leader Bob Bayford expected by August 23.

Photo Brian Whitehead

The notice said: “ This decision item could not be included in the Forward Plan in time as is required because the council only became aware of an opportunity to purchase the pontoons at short notice.

“This decision will be exempt from Overview & Scrutiny Panel procedure Rules on call-in because the implementation of the project is time critical.”

A decision notice is yet to be issued.

According to the document on the EU site the contract award was scheduled for early November with works were expected to begin in early January 2020.

Ramsgate Action Group chairman Steve Coombes said: “Nothing surprises RAG on the port these days. But it is almost beyond belief that TDC are still claiming that the 75 metre barges berthed on the harbour aren’t exactly the same two 75 metre barges that TDC were trying to buy as a “time-critical emergency” on Friday, August 23. Not least because these 75 metre barges are unique and there aren’t two other ex-crossrail barges anywhere in the country.
“Turning to the proposal to the pontoon on the harbour. Again, the jaw drops. How come it never occurred to the Port Management that slapping 75 metres of steel and concrete up on a Grade II listed 200 hundred year old Heritage Royal Harbour might require planning permission?”

Thanet council has been asked for further details.


  1. Why is it not possible to leave a reply on the Dreamland story?
    Is it because they (Dreamland) advertise on this site?

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