Royal Portbury Dock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Royal Portbury Dock
Somerset north portbury dock.jpg
Royal Portbury Dock, looking out to the Severn estuary
Country United Kingdom
Location Bristol, England
Coordinates 51°29′35″N 2°43′12″W / 51.493056°N 2.72°W / 51.493056; -2.72Coordinates: 51°29′35″N 2°43′12″W / 51.493056°N 2.72°W / 51.493056; -2.72
Opened 1978
Operated by The Bristol Port Company
Owned by Bristol City Council
Type of harbor Artificial
Available berths 7
Piers 2
Chairman Terence Mordaunt
Annual cargo tonnage 12m tonnes (2007)
Annual revenue £63m (2007)

The Royal Portbury Dock is part of the Port of Bristol, in England. It is situated near the village of Portbury on the southern side of the mouth of the Avon, where the river joins the Severn estuary — the Avonmouth Docks are on the opposite side of the Avon, within Avonmouth. The deepwater dock was constructed between 1972 and 1977, and is now a major port for the import of motor vehicles into the UK. The M5 motorway runs nearby, and the huge car storage compounds around the dock are visible from the Avonmouth Bridge. A waste industrial area west of the port is being developed as the Portbury Ashlands Nature Reserve.

The Royal Portbury Dock has the largest entrance lock into any UK port, accommodating vessels up to 41 m (135 ft) beam, 290 m (951 ft) length and 14.5 m (48 ft) draft.


The dock is now operated by The Bristol Port Company, who also operate Avonmouth Docks, and have done since 1991 when they purchased a 150 year lease from Bristol City Council. Between 2000 and 2002 the Portishead Railway was repaired and extended to the dock at a cost of £21 million.[1]


Container ship unloading

Motor vehicles are both loaded and discharged, and stored on paved quay areas and storage compounds. In 2004, over 650,000 vehicles were handled.[2] During 1996, the motor vehicle trade was awarded the International Quality Standard ISO 9002. Royal Portbury Dock can accommodate up to six RoRo vessels simultaneously.

Aviation fuel tankers up to 120,000 dwt can discharge at the Bristol Aviation Fuel Terminal which opened in 2003, and feeds directly into the UK's pipeline and storage network.

Coal and other bulk cargoes can be discharged with two continuous ship unloaders and two gantry grab cranes, allowing for 5,000 tonne per hour throughput.[3]

Since 2013 the wings for the Airbus A400M Atlas have left Portbury on 3 specialised ferries including the Ville De Bordeaux, after travelling from the factory at Filton. They go via St Nazaire to Seville. This is part of the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit transportation system.[4][5][6]

Containers and Forest Products are also handled at the dock.


Bristol Area Railway Map
Cross Country Route
Thornbury Branch Line
South Wales Main Line
New Passage Pier
Westerleigh Junction
New Passage Halt
Cross Hands Halt
South Wales Main Line
Severn Beach
Coalpit Heath
Crooks Marsh
Bristol Parkway
Grey line represents
boundary of Bristol
Ram Hill Colliery
Avonmouth Docks
Chittening Platform
St Andrews Road
Hallen Halt
Avonmouth (Royal Edward)
Avonmouth (BPRP)
Charlton Halt
North Filton Platform
Avonmouth Docks
Westerleigh Goods Depot
Filton Junction
Avonmouth Light Railway
Avonmouth Docks
Filton Abbey Wood
Sea Mills
Ashley Hill
Clifton Down Tunnel
Clifton Down
Staple Hill
Hotwells Halt
Narroways Hill Junction
Stapleton Road sidings
Stapleton Road
Lawrence Hill
Waste depot
Oldland Common
Bristol St Philip's
Temple Meads goods depot
St Mary Redcliffe tunnel
Bristol Temple Meads
Bristol Temple Meads
Bristol Harbour Railway
St Philips Marsh T&RSMD
Parson Street
Bristol Docks (North)
Bristol Docks (South)
Freightliner Container Depot
East Depot
Ashton Gate
St Anne's Park
Clifton Bridge
Nightingale Valley Halt
Long Ashton
Ham Green Halt
Avon Riverside
Portbury Shipyard
Whitchurch Halt
Royal Portbury Dock
Mangotsfield Branch Line
Weston, Clevedon and
Portishead Light Railway
Great Western Main Line
Bristol & North Somerset Rly
Portishead Pier
Bristol to Exeter Line

The port experiences the second largest tidal range in the world. The Portbury Dock, like Avonmouth Dock across the river, is impounded and the water level within each dock is maintained by lock gates and impounding pumps. The pumps maintain a minimum water level in the dock when water is lost to the sea through ships entering/exiting the dock.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Portishead Railway Group, 2006. "History of the Portishead Railway."
  2. ^ "Motor Vehicles – Trades". The Bristol Port Company. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Bulk (Coal) – Trades". The Bristol Port Company. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  4. ^ "PBA Design Helps Put New Airbus A400M Wings on Road to Success". Peter Brett. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "First A400M wings for Royal Air Force leave for final assembly line". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Ribbeck, Michael (16 February 2013). "Airbus wings made in Filton begin their long trip from Bristol to Spain ... by sea". Bristol Post. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Pump Supplies "Pump supplies Case Study.",

External links[edit]