Forty years ago Portsmouth City Council responded to calls from ferry operators for a facility which would cut crossing times by ferry from the South Coast to France. Since 1976, Portsmouth International Port has seen 90 million passengers, 25.5 million passenger vehicles and 8.5 million units of freight come and go to Europe on 135,000 ferry crossings. The council’s investment has generated more than £70 million and the money has been used to fund public services in the waterfront city.
These impressive figures highlight the importance of Portsmouth International Port, which offers a wider range of routes and services than any other UK port. It also provides a crucial economic stimulus to the city and surrounding area. Statistics from an economic impact study by Portsmouth University in 2011 showed the port is responsible for £38.7m of income into the greater Portsmouth area each year, directly supporting 805 full-time (or equivalent) jobs. The study also showed that 1,595 jobs are supported by activity at the port in the greater Portsmouth economy.
Martin Putman, port manager, said: “From small beginnings in 1976, Portsmouth International Port has made a big impact through careful planning and investment. We are continuously innovating and adapting to the ever-changing maritime industry.”
A busy summer schedule of events will mark the 40th anniversary. A new display in the stunning steel and glass passenger terminal will tell the story of the port; invited guests will attend a lunch on board Brittany Ferries Bretagne at which the company will celebrate 30 years of its service to Caen which has proved the most popular route from Portsmouth to France; and GCSE students from local schools will visit the port for interactive lessons on the impact and importance of the ferry business.