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Buried among the tourist info the other day I came across Portsmouth Port’s economic impact report. It makes interesting reading. Among friends here, we probably think of the port as the UK home of our favourite ferry operator and the departure point for business and pleasure trips. But there’s more to it than that, as a quick flick through the report reveals. Among the interesting statistics: PIP supplies half of Britain’s bananas, supports 5,590 jobs and delivers a gross value added of £390m a year. In the words of councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the city council – which owns the port – it is “a significant contributor to both the local and national economy, and a critical industry for many businesses in the supply chain”. You can read it for yourself here
Departing Portsmouth 24/10/19 - 22h45 My flying visit to Portsmouth (on foot) was disrupted by severe muscle spasms – but all well thanks to great work by port staff, BF team and the crew of NORMANDIE. By the time I arrived back at the port shortly after 20h00 my back was in severe spasm and I could hardly walk. After a quick trip to the loo I half sat, half collapsed into one of the balcony seats labelled for pax with limited mobility. No problem, I thought, an hour or so rest and a couple of painkillers will do the trick. In any case, with Assistance pre-booked, boarding would be simple, or so I thought. In fact the reverse was true and by the time came to head for the departure gate I couldn't stand up. That was when the port staff came to the rescue. The cleaning supervisor and a colleague – who turned out to be her mother – saw me struggling as I passed and immediately came to help. Turns out they had years of experience as carers and in the emergency services. Without hesitation they used the correct under-arm lift to get me up, then helped me along and carried my bags down to the gate, explaining my situation to BF and port security. A wheelchair was brought to wheel me on to the assistance minibus and thence on board. There were no cabins available (school hols?) and the wait-list at Reception also came up blank. "No problem, we will take you to your overnight seat in the lounge and come back with the wheelchair in the morning" was the response. On arrival in the lounge the helpful crewman realised my seat was inaccessible, in mid-row. Another, almost empty, lounge looked promising – except that the seats were so low we realised that I could not get in and out. So with a smart about turn I was wheeled up to the bar, parked at a table and a barman summoned. Next morning he was back to roll me back down to the car deck, waiting to ensure that I was safely loaded on to the minibus. So a BIG thank you to all concerned, ashore and on board. Demonstrating yet again why BF will always be my favourite way to travel. Although as I agreed with my wife when she met me at Ouistreham this will probably be my last cross-channel quick trip on my own. Thanks again, Brittany Ferries and Portsmouth Port. Ken
THE number of cruise ships using the city’s port is set to double under a major £18m expansion. Portsmouth International Port revealed detailed plans for an £18.7m cash injection agreed by its owner, Portsmouth City Council. The development is part of an overall £33.7m port development which will also see the city’s cargo dockyard firm Portico – formerly MMD Shipping Services – undergo a complete overhaul. Business leaders and councillors were given a tour of the site by port director Mike Sellers who detailed the plans last week. He said: ‘The fact we have secured the money for this development is fantastic news for both the port and city. ‘The port is owned by the council and so any additional revenue we generate from this development goes back into the city. ‘The more successful the port, the better for the city.’ Mr Sellers’ presentation revealed the ferry terminal’s capacity is to be increased to around 2,000 people, with separate areas for cruise and ferry passengers. He said: ‘The terminal will include baggage handling facilities and new boarding building, with more efficient walkway, to replace the current 30-year-old tower. ‘The dockside is also to be levelled from the current two-tier structure to improve accessibility for cruise ships. Mr Sellers added that the port have already ‘secured the business of major cruise lines’ and that ‘we wouldn’t be making this investment if we weren’t confident of it being a success’. Mr Sellers said: ‘This will increase the ports capacity to deal with cruise ships up to 253 metres from the current 240. This would greatly increase number of vessels we are capable of dealing with. ‘As a result we would be looking to double our annual cruise calls from the 48 we had last year to over 100.’ Cabinet member for planning and development, Councillor Ben Dowling, said: ‘Last year’s cruise industry brought in £8m to the city’s economy. ‘More people visiting our many tourist attractions and spending money in local businesses will only serve to enhance our economy.’
Plans to expand trade between France and Portsmouth could prove 'pointless' in the lead up to Brexit, ferry bosses have warned. Brittany Ferries confirmed it had been looking at increasing the frequency of services from sites such as Portsmouth International Port into ports west of Calais. But the company has been warned that every vehicle carrying refrigerated goods, food and other natural products may face inspections upon arrival in France after Britain leaves the EU. The infrastructure needed for these inspections, such as large warehouses, does not currently exist in French ports linked with Portsmouth International Port such as St Malo, Le Havre and Cherbourg. It is also unlikely the warehouses would be constructed by March next year which could significantly add to delays in Portsmouth. Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu said: 'The British may take a pragmatic approach and wave lorries through upon arrival into the UK. 'But cross-Channel trade works both ways. In a worst case scenario, British hauliers carrying refrigerated goods could face the prospect of far longer journeys – perhaps hundreds of additional miles – to find a French port equipped to process their consignment. When they finally get there they could encounter further delays waiting for checks to take place. 'The reality of this would be a loss of connectivity and a significant threat to jobs and long term investment in regions like the south west of England.' Mike Sellers, the director of Portsmouth International Port, believed more information from politicians was needed. 'We join the calls requesting clarity regarding expectations to manage trade post-Brexit, and this includes European ports too,' he said. 'Any delays across the channel could have implications on sailings to Portsmouth, which would impact on our customers. It’s vital that the operations of ports are considered by all sides, to make sure we’re in the best possible position to provide a seamless service. 'Ferry ports transporting freight are hugely important to the flow of trade across the country and it’s vital all impacts are understood.' But former leader of the council, Cllr Donna Jones, said: 'The UK government has already given clarity that there will not be checks on every lorry entering the UK and I expect the EU to do the same. It is not in the EU’s interests to effect the food supply chain by delaying food entering Europe. If this happened the flow of goods into Europe would be materially affected.' https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/business/brexit-concerns-over-plans-to-expand-trade-between-portsmouth-and-france-1-8657827