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The Royal Portbury Dock

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.

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]


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]

Containers and Forest Products are also handled at the dock.


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[4].

See also

External links


  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. ^ Pump Supplies "Pump supplies Case Study.",

Coordinates: 51°29′35″N 2°43′12″W / 51.49306°N 2.72°W / 51.49306; -2.72

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