Ferrovial study on port capacity


In 2022 a large European multi-national construction company contracted Robert West to carry out a UK and Ireland Ports Study for Potential Manufacturing Sites for Concrete Foundations for Floating Offshore Wind Projects.

Our client defined the basic requirements they would need in a port to enable them to construct these 25,000T concrete foundations onshore for subsequent loading onto suitable offshore vessels/barges. Construction process and estimated timescales, platform characteristics and characteristics of type vessel.

The study was carried out in three phases:

  • Phase 1 – Initial desk top screening of potential ports and compilation of a long list of options
  • Phase 2 – Detailed analysis of short list of 10 No. candidate ports
  • Phase 3 – Extensive interaction with the two preferred ports


The key criteria for the initial port screening were as follows:

1. Port with 12-15m water depth

2. Berth with 165-300m of quay in sheltered waters suitable for 3-6 loadouts per year

  • Existing berth
  • Future berth with planning permission underway
  • Other prospects

3. Hinterland ideally 345m x 645m (range 12-24 Ha)

4. Realistic proximity to main Offshore Windfarm Leases where floating wind is required – ie Leases where water depth is greater than 60m

5. Height between top of quay wall and low water not to exceed 6.5m in order to be within the technical limits of the semi-submersible loading vessel. (4.5m tidal range + 2m grillage). This key criterion was added at the start of the Phase 2 evaluation resulting in a reduction of the number of candidate ports to 10 No.


• There is a general lack of readymade solutions for construction bases for Offshore Floating Wind throughout the UK and Ireland and no ports were able to provide our client with the solution they were seeking.
• Of the 10 No. Ports around the UK and Ireland which were selected for further analysis in Phase 2, only Invergordon and Belfast were carried forward into Phase 3.
• Invergordon currently has the highest amount of appropriate infrastructure already in place.
• Our client is now reassessing his options and potentially focusing on other European locations to service this industry.