Portsmouth International Port will bid for £18m investment for commercial success in the cruise market
Portsmouth International Port will bid for £18.7m investment which could mean the city would be a leading competitor in the cruise market, and could significantly improve ferry operations.
It is already considered a major UK port and its commercial success means it contributed £7.8m this year to Portsmouth City Council’s budget.
Portsmouth City Council now feel there is a big opportunity to grow the cruise offering within the city, pointing to the city’s location, connection to major transport routes, and capacity as key factors in potential growth. In 2018 Portsmouth welcomed 48 calls and is looking to grow every year, with an ambition to reach over 100.
As a turnaround port, where ships take guests away on holiday, and a port of call, where ships visit a particular city as part of their itinerary, Portsmouth is ideally located for both.
Funding would allow essential leveling work to take place on the cruise berth, which would mean once completed the port could accommodate many more cruise lines who find the current layout challenging. Planned works would also include changes to the current terminal building to handle cruise and ferry passengers more efficiently and appropriate walkway access for passengers to the ship.
Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Economic Development, Ben Dowling said Portsmouth is the UK’s most successful council-owned port. It contributes a significant amount to essential services and this could increase dramatically if the port has the investment to grow.
Dowling said cruise is a market in which they have a real opportunity to develop, if they provide industry standard infrastructure. Major operators are keen to use Portsmouth if the ships are accommodated appropriately. The increase in visitors to the city would have huge benefits, as would the additional berthing fees for the ships at the port.
He said that they have a 10-year deal with the port’s customer, Brittany Ferries, who is also investing substantially in their business, and they need to make sure the port has facilities to match. This capital bid goes forward to Full Council on 12 February and he hopes their colleagues support the proposal.
The funding is being recommended as part of Portsmouth City Council’s capital budget which will go before the city’s Cabinet and Full Council for approval in February. The capital budget invests in a range of infrastructure schemes throughout the city like buildings and facilities, rather than the day-to-day running of council services that have to be paid through a separate revenue budget.