Portsmouth set for cruise expansion

The MV Boudicca sets sail flanked by Royal Navy ships. Credit: Port of Portsmouth

Portsmouth International Port revealed expansion plans following the launch of its economic impact report, completed by consultancy Oxford Economics, at a parliamentary reception in Westminster on 4 September.

Using data from 2017, the economic impact of Portsmouth International Port was revealed to be worth:
• GBP390 million (USD481 million) to the national economy, for every GBP1 million generated a further GBP1.9 million was sustained elsewhere

• GBP189 million to the local economy, for every GBP1 million generated by the port locally a further GBP0.4 million was stimulated through induced and indirect impacts

• 5,590 jobs – 2,410 of which are in the local area through direct employment and supply chains

Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth International Port, said, “We also handle the world’s largest wind blades for a major offshore energy company and play a critical link in the supply chain. We have bold investment plans under way to transform the port so we’re in the best position to handle more passengers and freight, while remaining as environmentally conscious as possible.”

Captain Ian Diaper, Portsmouth’s head of operations, said, “We’re targeting the boutique and luxury cruise market, leaving the bigger vessels to Southampton.” In order to facilitate this, the port is expanding both its cruise berth in terms of length and depth, as well as the terminal.

The berth is slated to be completed by March 2020, and the terminal is envisioned to be ready from March 2021 in order to accommodate for the cruise season in that year.

“The port is not only aiming to improve the calling facilities for the ships but also the passenger experience, ensuring that disabled passengers can move throughout the port during port calls,” Diaper told DPC.

Sellers also gave a further outlook saying, “The next step is to master plan the port, aligned to the UK’s Department of Transport’s Maritime 2050 strategy and in particularly the Clean Maritime Plan, and discuss the exciting proposals for the future, which again will benefit the local and national economy and make us a front-runner to be the first UK zero-emission port.”

Counsellor Steve Pitt, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, voiced his support for the ports clean air-strategy at the reception. In reference to the master plan, he said, “Next year we aim to rewrite the port’s master plan to enable even more growth.”