The assertion was made at the launch of the port’s ‘20-year Masterplan’ event held today, where it was claimed the move will generate approximately £739m for the national economy by 2032 and secure over 10,000 jobs following the £92m investment.
The proposals include extensions and upgrades to berths so Portsmouth can handle two 300mtr ships simultaneously, with the provision of green facilities an additional priority.
A new £14m terminal extension is currently under construction at the port following a successful UK Levelling UP Funding bid, which will allow it to handle an extra 2,000 passengers in an exclusive cruise lounge.
Global engineering and project management consultants Royal HaskoningDHV gave direction on what the port needed to focus on to meet future demand after forecasting changes in the travel industry.
Confronting ‘dramatic changes’
‘There are dramatic changes facing the industry over the coming years and we want to make sure we're in the best position to play our role as a major UK port,’ explained Mike Sellers, director, Portsmouth International Port.
‘We have been growing our cruise operations steadily and have successfully welcomed brand new lines such as Virgin Voyages to the UK and also focused our attention on regular loyal, long-standing customers such as Noble Caledonia, Ponant, Phoenix Reisen and Viking.
‘This Masterplan identifies how we'll deliver first-class cruise facilities, vital to safeguard the port's future and the anticipated growing popularity of cruise in the UK.’
Sellers went on to add that conversations with industry experts highlighted a necessity for increased berth availability, which is why the port is ‘planning to extend berths to 300mtr so we can handle multiple ships at once.’
He also remarked that the port is ‘determined’ to become one of the most sustainable ports in the UK, ‘We're making space for a sustainable future and contributing towards elevating Portsmouth's status as one of the UK's leading marine and maritime cities.’
Included in the 20-year Masterplan
An overhead walkway from terminal to ship and additional parking from the city's upgraded park-and-ride are among the plans, as well as water deepening, shore power and a further 25mtr extension to the cruise berth.
There will be a phased approach to the projects, with the terminal building starting in spring, running alongside the port's green initiatives.
The environmental projects will be implemented over five years and will comprise: lithium-ion battery for energy storage, providing shore power for smaller ships from summer 2022 and solar PV and wind turbines enabling the port to become a net energy provider for the entire port site.
A spokesperson for Cruise Britain said of the objectives, ‘The UK cruise industry relies on a diverse, forward-looking and proactive shoreside infrastructure and supply chain as evidenced in the Masterplan.’
‘Sustainable operations are key to the future of the global cruise industry and it is vital that the UK and Cruise Britain members, including Portsmouth, are well-placed to support cruise vessels.
‘Operators are working towards net carbon neutral cruise by 2050 and Portsmouth’s plans will allow the Port to deliver on this goal.'