1,000 tonne crane lifts a major piece of the jigsaw into Milford Dock’s new Lock


A 1,000 tonne crane lifts the sill into Milford Dock's new lockA huge, 100 tonne piece of concrete, forming a key part of the new £6m Milford Dock Lock has been lowered into place. 

The culmination of months of careful preparation, the concrete sill will sit at the foot of two giant new gates that will be installed in coming months.   A major challenge for the contractors was to keep the dock and marina open for business while engineers and divers spent weeks carefully digging away at the 150 year old existing dock walls and floor in preparation.

They also had to form new piled foundations either side to carry the weight of the new gates. To avoid disruption the engineers pre cast the massive concrete sill on dry land, before lowering it in, as Rob Morgan, Project Manager of gate designers Atkins explained.

“The precast concrete sill not only reduced the amount of work taking place within the lock itself, but also meant we could be much more accurate in the build.  That’s vital as the gates that will eventually be fitted to the sill will require to be fitted within tolerances of a few millimetres”.   This idea came with challenges, particularly finding a crane big enough to lift the huge weight, as Rob pointed out. “100 tonnes is pretty well the heaviest weight we could lift, so we made the sill hollow. A perfectly accurate skeleton has gone in and we will now fill it with more concrete.”

Ainscough Cranes supplied the massive 1,000 tonne machine to carry out the lift, with many people turning out to witness the engineering feat.

The project to build new gates in the lock is part of Visit Wales' Coastal Tourism Project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, to encourage tourism along the Welsh coastline.

Port of Milford Haven engineer David Thomas said it was a big day for the project. “It’s been fantastic to see the pieces put in place. This is big engineering at its best, and as always it required getting the little details right. The contractors McLaughlin & Harvey have done an excellent job and now that the sill’s at the bottom of the lock there’s nothing to show for it, which is exactly what we wanted!”


Photo caption: The sill being lifted into the lock at Milford Dock
(Photo by Pembrokeshire Photography)

Notes to Editors:
Port of Milford Haven

The Port of Milford Haven is responsible for the biggest port in Wales, and is the third largest port in the UK.  Each year it handles around 29% of Britain’s seaborne trade in oil and gas and is widely recognised in the industry as the energy capital of the UK.

The Port, along with the cluster of energy-related businesses along the Waterway, is a key driver of economic activity in Pembrokeshire, attracting inward investment and supporting over 4,000 thousand jobs.

The Port of Milford Haven also owns and operates Pembroke Port and Milford Dock.  Activities such as cargo handling, ferry operations, fish landing and cruise calls as well as a first class marina are spread across these two sites. 

The Port of Milford Haven is a trust port – an independent, commercially run organisation that has statutory responsibilities governed by its Acts, to maintain and improve navigation and the provision of Port and Harbour services and facilities.  Additionally, the Port provides significant financial and in-kind support to a wide variety of local causes.  All profits are retained within the business to fund these objectives. 

For further information, visit or contact:

Adrian Lort-Phillips
Radiant Media
01646 650195/ 07917 773756

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