* Photo by Simon Jones. Changes afoot: A container truck leaves Hamilton Docks from Gate #8 which will soon be replaced by a new entrance near the junction of Court Street and Front Street.
* Photo by Simon Jones. Changes afoot: A container truck leaves Hamilton Docks from Gate #8 which will soon be replaced by a new entrance near the junction of Court Street and Front Street.
A multimillion-dollar project that will ultimately help thwart the smuggling of guns and drugs into Bermuda gets underway next month.

A huge X-ray scanner will be installed on the docks and the Bermuda Sun has been given details of the massive docks shake-up surrounding the scheme.

The scanner will X-ray every container and piece of cargo arriving here and is due to be up and running by November.

In the meantime, a massive project to re-organize the docks will see a frenzy of demolition and construction work.

The scheme, which will cost the Corporation of Hamilton $5m, will involve moving the entrance to the docks.

The No.7 Shed, which is currently used for parking and storage, will be demolished in April.

In its place a new entrance will be constructed directly opposite Court Street, to be used by all trucks, cars and visitors entering and leaving the docks. The scanner will be set up nearby.

The project will also see the creation of a new container delivery area, while refrigerated containers will be moved further down the dock towards gate No. 8.

Around $1m worth of telescopic lighting will be installed and security upgrades will also be implemented.

Joe Simus, general manager of Meyer Freight, admitted the dock will become congested while construction and demolition work is being carried out.

He said: "There is no doubt it is going to get congested down there and there may be some delays. There may be some hiccups here and there. After all we are losing around an acre of storage space."

He added: "This is a major change to the way the docks will work.

"All the trucks will come and go by the same gate which will be placed where the No.7 Shed is at the moment.

"Bermuda will be ahead of the game when the X-ray machine is in place.

"We will just make the best of it in the meantime."

Tjerk Neijmeijer, Bermuda Container Line's vice president for administration and equipment control, said there were some concerns that the move might cause extra traffic congestion.

He said: "Our fear is that this movement of the entry gate will not be helpful for traffic.

"We are also anxious about how the changes will affect the whole operation and that remains to be seen.

"The biggest problem is going to come during the demolition and construction phase - we are going to juggling space and where the containers go.

"There is no doubt that when the new system is in operation it will add time from when the container is unloaded to when it is driven out.

"But we are fully behind the concept and we will make the best of it."

Edward Benevides, chief operating officer and secretary for the Corporation of Hamilton, says the move will ease traffic congestion: "We anticipate there will be little or no impact on the flow of traffic along Front Street.

"If anything, we believe once the changes on the dock have been completed, traffic flow will improve because trucks waiting to collect their cargo will no longer have to park on Front Street. "

Peter Aldrich, general manager of Stevedoring Services, said there was potential for back-ups and delays.

He said: "There are some serious space constraints due to the limited size of the pier and the challenge has been to not only accommodate the process but also to ensure our continued safe operation and productivity of the port and operation.

"We are as pleased as we could be about the arrangements that have been made.

"This is a big project and we are going to lose space on the dock but everyone is behind the project."