Port of Southampton
|Port of Southampton|
|Location||Southampton, Hampshire, England|
|Operated by||Associated British Ports (ABP)|
|Available berths||45 (20–207)|
Port of Southampton
The Port of Southampton is a major passenger and cargo port located in the central part of the south coast of England. It benefits from a sheltered location, unique "double tides", close proximity to the motorway network and good rail links. Owned and operated by Associated British Ports since 1982, the port is the busiest cruise terminal and second largest container port in the UK.
See also History of the Port of Southampton
The port is located ten miles (16 km) (16 km) inland, between the confluence of the rivers Test and Itchen and the head of the mile-wide inlet (technically a ria or drowned valley), known as Southampton Water. The mouth of the inlet is protected from the effects of foul weather by the mass of the Isle of Wight, which gives the port an advantageous sheltered location. Additional advantages include a densely populated hinterland and close proximity to London, and excellent rail and road links to the rest of Britain which, however, bypass the congestion of London.
The average tidal range is approximately 5 feet (1.5 metres), with 17 hours per day of rising water thanks to the port's "double tides". These allow the largest container and cruise ships access to the port for up to 80 per cent of the time, according to the container terminal operator DP World Southampton. A common misconception is that the double tide is caused by 'one tide coming up each side of the Isle of Wight'. However, the effect is actually caused as a result of tidal flow through the English Channel. High tide at one end of the Channel (Dover) occurs at the same time as low tide at the other end (Land's End). Points near the centre have one high water as the tidal swell goes from left to right, another as it then goes from right to left, making two for each one at either end, neither as high as the one at each end.
- 1 Cruise Shipping
- 2 Freight and cargo
- 3 Local ferries
- 4 Boats and small ships
- 5 Outer areas of the port
- 6 Other activities
- 7 References
There are currently four active cruise terminals in the Port of Southampton. Two are modern, whilst the two older terminals have recently received extensive refurbishments:
- Queen Elizabeth II Terminal, berth 38/39 opened 1966, modernised 2003
- Mayflower Terminal, berth 106 opened 1960, modernised 2003
- City Terminal, berth 101 opened 2003, upgraded 2007
- Ocean Terminal, berth 46 opened 2009
- Berth 104, a new cruise terminal scheduled to open in 2015
The first full-time cruise ship was Ceylon, a P&O liner converted in 1881. Up to this point ship owners had occasionally used liners for off-season cruising. From 1881 the growth of the cruise industry proceeded slowly until the 1970s when major shipping operators became badly affected by the rise in popularity of longhaul jet air travel. Faced with falling demand for their mail and passengers services they turned their business to holiday cruises – voyages that usually end where they begin, providing short leisure visits to other ports on the way.
In the case of Southampton at the time ships affected included Cunard's QE2 and the P&O vessels SS Oriana and SS Canberra: all originally built as fast liners, they began to offer a growing variety of cruises. Through the 1990s cruising's growing popularity saw huge increases in ship size and numbers as well as terminal capacity, with Southampton becoming one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.
Cruise ship sizes have risen substantially in recent years. Currently the largest vessel using the Port of Southampton is Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, with a length of 338.8m, a gross tonnage of 154,407 and a maximum passenger capacity of 4,375. As a consequence of these high capacities, the passenger port is currently experiencing its busiest period in terms of either tonnage of shipping or number of passengers (but not the actual number of ships). In 2005, the number of passengers using the port totalled 738,000, higher than it had been in any one year of the previous century. Since then it has increased year on year, and the figure for 2010 was 1.2 million passengers, representing 307 calls by passenger ships. On average, each docking is worth £1.25 million to the local economy.
Southampton is the base of these cruise ships:
- Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity Eclipse
- Cunard – Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth
- Princess Cruises – Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess
- Royal Caribbean – Adventure of the Seas, Independence of the Seas
and the liner:
In addition ships of a number of other cruise companies regularly sail from the port, including:
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines – Four smaller ships
- Crystal Cruises – Based in Los Angeles; two luxury ships
- Costa Cruises – Part of Carnival; Italian flag; 14 ships
- MSC Cruises – 11 ships; Italian based;
- Norwegian Cruise Line 11 ships; headquarters in Florida; informal.
- Oceania Cruises 4 luxury ships; headquarters in Miami.
- Saga Cruises – Three ships, offering cruises for the over-50s
- Silversea Cruises – Monaco based; Italian owned; six ships.
Freight and cargo
The very modern and well-equipped container terminal is operated by DP World Southampton. The container port has 210 acres (85 ha) of land – not counting the 375 acres (152 ha) in the older Western Docks – available for port operations. Loading and unloading operations can be performed simultaneously on four large deep-sea container ships, plus one smaller ship 500 ft (150m) in length.
This makes it the country's second largest such terminal, after that at Felixstowe. Southampton handles most of the trade from the Far East. The railway line from Southampton has recently been upgraded to a loading gauge of W10 on the route between the container port and the ABP terminal in Birmingham, where it links with lines that have already received this treatment. This allows the railway line to handle the taller containers now in widespread use.
Permission has been received from the Marine Management Organisation to extend the container terminal into berths 201 and 202. The quay is to be rebuilt, and will be over 1640 ft (500m) in length. The depth of water in the main channel is to be increased by dredging to 63 ft (16m). This will enable the berths to accommodate the largest container vessels currently in service. Work on this project has now started and should be completed by the end of 2013.
On 20 September 2013, it was announced that Channel Island Lines would continue the "lift-on lift-off" container service between Southampton and Jersey, and would purchase the MV Huelin Dispatch from Associated British Ports who in turn had purchased them from the receiver of the Huelin-Renouf bankruptcy.
The port has extensive facilities for the import and export of vehicles; not only standard cars and vans but also heavy and large specialist vehicles such as giant quarry trucks. Four large multi-storey car park type storage facilities have been constructed, to provide 30 acres (12 ha) of above-ground storage, with more planned. Roll on – roll off vehicle transporters serve all parts of the world; specialised car trains as well as car transporter lorries provide vehicle transport to and from the port within Britain. Southampton has been the UK's leading port for vehicle exports in recent years.
The terminal for bulk goods handles over a million tons annually. One large specialist facility processes waste glass into glass cullet, suitable for making new glass bottles. A Rank Hovis flour mill deals with 70,000 tons (tonnes) of wheat each year. Crushed rocks, gravel, sand, fertilisers, grains and scrap are also handled.
There are large (156,000 sq ft (14,500 square metres)) refrigerated storage facilities and a dedicated terminal for fresh fruits and vegetables. The port handles 80,000 tons (tonnes) of such produce, much of it from the Canary Isles, each year.
Oil and petroleum products
The Esso refinery at Fawley is the largest in the country, providing 20 per cent of the nation's capacity. Its own mile-long marine terminal handles 2000 ship movements and 22 million tons (tonnes) of crude oil annually, making it the largest independently owned docks facility in Europe. There is also a BP Oil Terminal at Hamble, linked to Fawley by pipeline. This provides storage and distribution facilities for crude oil and refined petroleum products. The crude oil arrives by pipeline, and leaves in sea tankers, destined for various refineries; refined products reach the terminal by ship and pipeline and are then distributed to customers by road tanker, ship and pipeline. Heathrow Airport is one example of a major customer that is connected to Hamble by direct pipeline.
Red Funnel provide two ferry services from the Town Quay area in Southampton to the Isle of Wight. The Car Ferry service to East Cowes, with a journey time of 50 minutes, is currently operated by the three 'Raptor' class vessels: Red Falcon, Red Eagle and Red Osprey.
The Fast Passenger Ferry service runs to Cowes (which is called "West Cowes" by Red Funnel, but not by anyone else) in 22 minutes. It is provided by the Red Jet catamarans: Red Jets 3, 4 and 5. The official name of this operator in the register of companies is not in fact Red Funnel but: The Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Public Company LTD.
There has been a passenger ferry from the Town Quay to the village of Hythe, across Southampton Water, since the Middle Ages. This cuts out a lengthy journey by land across the mouth of the River Test. A 2000 ft (610m) pier opened in 1881; a 2-foot (576mm) gauge railway, the oldest pier railway in the world, has run along it since 1922. White Horse Ferries of Swindon are the current operators; the two boats they use are Great Expectations, which came from their Tilbury-Gravesend service, and Hotspur IV which has been in use since 1946. The crossing takes about 15 minutes.
Boats and small ships
The use of small private craft within Southampton has seen a big increase in recent years. Marina facilities are available at Hythe Village Marina across Southampton Water to the south, and at several locations on the River Itchen. Close to the Itchen Bridge there is the Ocean Village Marina. Shamrock Quay and Saxon Wharf marinas lie on the western side of the river further upstream, while Kemps Quay marina is on the eastern side. Town Quay marina has a very central location close to the Red Jet fast ferry berths. All of these are well equipped. Hythe Village and Shamrock Quay have each been awarded "5 Gold Anchors" classifications from The Yacht Harbour Association. Ocean Village has 3 "Gold Anchors". Towards the western end of the Docks area there are additional berthing and anchoring possibilities, at Marchwood Yacht Club and Eling Sailing Club.
Harbour and local pleasure cruises
Blue Funnel Cruises offer harbour cruises to view the ships in port, as well as other short day cruises in the Solent area, and "Party Night" type trips etc. The Barkham family began the operation in the 1930s; the current name was adopted in 1965. They currently run three vessels, named Ocean Scene, Ashleigh R and Jenny R from Ocean Village.
SS Shieldhall is a heritage ship included in the National Historic Ships Core Collection (as is Waverley) and based here. She is now the largest seaworthy working steamship of her type in Britain and probably Europe. As a "Clyde sludge boat", she spent her working life dumping treated sewage, first in Glasgow, later in Southampton. Cleaned up now and managed by a charity, she operates an excursion programme, in addition to providing other services.
The first Southampton International Boat Show took place in 1969. It has been held annually ever since, and has become the biggest water-based event of its type in Europe. It usually takes place over ten days in September. The venue is Mayflower Park, overspilling into land at a nearby hotel, and also onto a 1.25-mile (2 km) network of temporary pontoons in the water. Around 350 of the boats are exhibited afloat at these pontoons, where potential customers have the opportunity to try them out. In total, 500 exhibitors show over 1000 boats in nearly 12 acres (5 ha) of exhibition space.
Outer areas of the port
South of Woolston, Southampton has a shingle beach within its boundaries at Weston Shore. On the water, this area is popular for sailing small dinghies; in the Solent area as a whole, over 60 dinghy sailing clubs cater for this pastime. This is in addition to the 70 plus yacht and sailing clubs and 40 marinas for bigger vessels.
Royal Victoria Country Park on the shore is centred on a chapel which is all that survives of what, when completed in 1836, was the longest building in the world. This is the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, or Netley Hospital, Britain's largest military hospital when in use. It treated 50,000 war wounded from WW I, 68,000 casualties of WW II, and many others before, between and since.
Hamble-le-Rice is the next village to the south. Today it is known to yachtsmen as "the heart of British yachting"; it is a picturesque village set in a picturesque river estuary noted for abundant and varied wildlife. There is a small Oil Terminal slightly further north on Southampton Water. For much of the last century, however, Hamble was the village with three airfields, at the centre of an area with up to 26 aircraft manufacturers. The Hamble Aerostructures factory remains busy today. It was a major centre for air training from 1931 to 1984. Sir Winston Churchill was one of the many thousands who took flying lessons here. To the south of the village, lies the site of an Iron Age promontory hillfort, Hamble Common Camp.
Across the river Hamble, and linked to it by a small ferry for passengers and pedal cyclists, lies Warsash. This is the last village before the border of the area controlled by ABP Southampton with that controlled by the Queen's Harbourmaster Portsmouth. The River Hamble itself, the third of the three rivers that formed Southampton Water, is controlled by its own harbour authority.map Warsash is another village in which sailing plays an important role, and also has a history of shipbuilding. In addition it is the home of the Maritime Academy, which provides training for future Merchant Navy Officers. Its famous model ships, used for practising operation of large marine vessels picture were moved in May 2011 from their old base at Marchwood to a new one near Timsbury. The seven ton (tonne) models are powered, and have control systems which simulate the realistic handling of real ships. The new state-of-the-art facility for them at Timsbury Lake near Romsey features models of berths, ship canal locks, narrow channels etc. for use in training the next generation of ships' officers.
Across the Solent from Warsash, the ABP Harbour limit is at Stone point, near Lepe Country Park. The Department of Transport has responsibility for the safety of navigation within the Western Solent beyond this limit, as it currently lies outside the jurisdiction of any of the harbour authorities. The foreshore from here to Calshot, the first village to the north-east, is a lightly frequented and rather muddy beach.
At Calshot, with the long row of beach huts, the beach is shingle, and there is much of historical interest. Calshot Castle, built by Henry VIII to govern the port approach stands on Calshot Spit, a mile long (1.6 km) shingle bank, and housed a military garrison until as late as 1956. The area was a very busy major base and centre of activity for military flying boats. The hangars along the spit for them now accommodate a large activities centre, with climbing walls, velodrome and dry ski slope. There are also stations and facilities for the lifeboat and coastguard services. Saxon landings in 495, Lawrence of Arabia, the Schneider Trophy and the world's first port radio and radar station all also feature in the history of this tiny village. Beyond Calshot lies the oil-fired 1GW Fawley Power Station; beyond that is the huge Fawley Oil Refinery, with its associated piers for tankers.
Away from the built up areas and industrial facilities, the western shore is dominated by salt marshes, with some reeds. The next village is Hythe, which is associated with Sir Christopher Cockerell. The father of the modern hovercraft lived here for a long time. His friend the aforementioned Lawrence of Arabia also lived here, but only for a short time. Hovercraft development and manufacture took place principally at Cowes and Woolston, but also at other locations in the Solent area. There is a museum devoted to them at Lee-on-Solent to the East.
The Hythe Village marina is situated to the north of the village. Between this marina and the Marchwood Military Port, 800 acres (324 ha) of land extending from the shore to a line roughly 900 yards (1 km) inland, is owned by ABP. It is held in reserve for, and likely eventually to be used for, further development of the container port. It adjoins part of the eastern boundary of the New Forest National Park, and port development proposals are always highly emotive and contentious locally.
The Itchen Bridge is a road bridge that charges tolls, connecting the docks area with Woolston. It spans 2,625 ft (800 m) and the clearance for shipping is 23 meters above Highest Astronomical Tide, 95 ft (29 m) above chart datum. In 1977 it replaced a chain ferry known as the floating bridge, which had been operating since 1838.
Substantial storage warehouses once lined the banks of the lowest part of the river, but have been demolished. North of the bridge, on the western side, there are several yards and wharves used by coastal vessels. These handle relatively low-value, non-perishable and non-urgent bulk goods, including timber, scrap, metals, cement, sand and other quarry products. This trade accounts for 24 per cent by weight of internal goods transport in Britain. The imposing modern structure of St Mary's Stadium – the home of Southampton F.C. – stands close to the river here, just inland of the coasters' yards.
A shipbuilding firm, Day Summers & Co. was active between 1840 and 1929 in this area. The final vessel to be built there was the last floating bridge – no 14, which spent its working life a mile downstream, and is still in use today, albeit as a restaurant in Bursledon five miles (8.0 km) away. Today this part of the river is occupied by the marinas, and also by many more small wharves, quays and shipyards, which provide homes for small to medium sized boating-related businesses. The next two crossings are Northam Bridge, a part of the city's main eastern approach route, linking Bitterne Manor to Northam, and the railway bridge which carries the lines linking Southampton with Portsmouth and Brighton.
Upstream of these, only a little commercial activity takes place on the river or its banks. Some residences having river frontages use them as moorings for small boats, and a number of private houseboats are berthed. One more large road bridge, Cobden Bridge, connects St. Denys and Bitterne Park. More houseboats are berthed to the north of it on the Western side, otherwise the riversides are occupied by parkland and the Portswood Sewage Treatment Works for much of the next stretch, as far as Woodmill Bridge. The tidal section of the river, for which the Port of Southampton is the navigation authority, ends here. The river Itchen upstream is noted as one of the world's premier chalk streams for fly fishing.
Car storage compounds within the docks now extend close to the bridges carrying the main Southampton – Bournemouth railway line and the busy A35 dual carriageway. The tidal section of the river, and the area of the navigation authority of The Port of Southampton, end in Redbridge, at a point close to these transport structures. The name of the bridge here comes from the abundant reeds in the area – "Reedbridge"; it was never red in colour. The River Test is even more famous than the Itchen in the world of fly fishing.
The village of Eling, with its Sailing Club and anchorages for small boats, faces the container terminal to the south-west. It features a Norman parish church, one of the two working tide mills left in Britain, and a mediæval toll bridge that still charges users.
Two miles (3.2 km) of undeveloped foreshore, mainly reeds, shingle and mud lie downstream from Eling, opposite the container port; then we come to industrialised Marchwood, facing the western docks. A high-efficiency gas-fired 840 MW power station opened here in early 2010, replacing an older facility. The prominent 360 ft (110m) wide by 118 ft (36m) high aluminium dome is a new electricity-generating refuse incinerator; it too has recently replaced an outdated predecessor. There is also a sewage treatment works. Leaving the industrial estate we come to Cracknore Hard. This area was home to Husband's Shipyard, famed for wooden military craft including minesweepers, and also yachts and fishing boats. The British Military Powerboat Team more recently assembled an interesting collection of historic military powerboats in the old Husband sheds, but they have left and gone to Portsmouth. A marina and hotel are now planned for this site in the near future. Beyond lies Marchwood Military Port.
Port-related activities that have not been mentioned include the following:
- Shipping Agents
- Provisions for cargo and passenger ships
- Ships' Chandlers
- Freight Forwarders
- HM Revenue and Customs
- UK Border Agency
- Southampton Port health services
- Hampshire Constabulary Marine Support Unit
- HM Coastguards Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Lee-on-Solent
- Royal National Lifeboat Institution – The Calshot Lifeboat
- Designated areas for angling, jet-skiing, waterskiing, windsurfing etc.
- Port Maintenance crews
- Cruise-ship cleaning
- Engineering Support for ships
- The Southampton Seafarers Centre
- Waste collection
- Stevedores and terminals
- Cargo Processors
- The VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) Centre Control Room
- Mooring services
- Fuel Supplies
- Port towage
- container repair
- Container storage
- Freightliner Rail
- Pre-delivery inspections etc. for vehicle importers
- PT Contractors Ltd. – (resident building and civil engineering contractors)
- Headquarters – Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport
- Headquarters – Maritime and Coastguard Agency
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