Knights Brown to lead expansion work at Portsmouth port
Portsmouth International Port has confirmed construction firm Knights Brown will lead a multi-million-pound project to increase the size of docking facilities at the location.
The news means Portsmouth could welcome more 150,000 cruise passengers annually in the next few years, as the size of cruise ships the port can accommodate increases.
Work will begin in November, involving complex engineering procedures to reconfigure the cruise berth.
Once completed in the spring next year the port will be able to welcome ships up to 255 metres in length.
Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port director, said: “Portsmouth is in an enviable location for cruise, with world famous attractions and a dramatic waterfront, there are plenty of opportunities to grow the city’s share of the market.
“More passengers will also drive demand for additional hotels, an increased spend in shops and restaurants, not to mention putting Portsmouth on the international map.
“This is the start of an incredibly exciting and bold plan for cruise, over the next few years there will be a remarkable difference in how Portsmouth is perceived as a leading competitor thanks to our experienced cruise experts who have recently joined the senior management team.”
He added: “A successful cruise and ferry port provides a wide benefit to the city including a significant contribution towards employment, increased sales for tourist attractions, not to mention an opportunity for residents in the surrounding Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex area to experience convenient travel abroad.”
Increasing the length of ships the port can manage opens up more of the cruise market for the city, making the possibility of visits from the major lines such as Silverseas, Crystal, Fred. Olsen, Saga and CMV a regular occurrence.
The current cruise berth has a sloped level making it particularly challenging for accessing certain ships, the essential levelling work and creation of an additional dolphin - a fixed, permanent structure, separate to the berth, which acts as an extension for mooring - will mean ships up to 255 metre will be safely, and conveniently, handled at the Port.
The port has seen a steady number of cruise calls, with 50 expected in 2019 resulting in 50,000 passengers.
The aim is to grow to over 100 by 2022, delivering over 150,000 passengers.