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Levelling Up funding kick starts major Portsmouth port development

New terminal

Portsmouth International Port’s terminal transformation has officially begun, as contractors Knights Brown started construction today on a new carbon neutral terminal extension, which will strengthen the city’s position a major UK port and is one of the UK’s first Levelling Up projects to get underway.

The port has been awarded £11.25m funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to build new facilities. Due to an increase in cruise ships calling at the port the transformation is necessary to create capacity to manage an anticipated additional 250,000 passengers a year, in addition to the port’s current two million.

The carbon neutral extension will feature:

– a sky garden, where passengers can enjoy views of the port

– new walkway from the current terminal to the new check-in area

– interior living walls

– expansive baggage hall

– exclusive cruise lounge

It will create over 2500 jobs nationally, including 550 in the city. Cruise ships are forecast to increase in Portsmouth with each call expected to generate up to £1.5m through port charges, passenger and crew spend on local goods and services such as hotels and attractions, and also supplies to the ship.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development said:  “This is fantastic news for the city, providing employment opportunities and promoting Portsmouth’s offer as the UK’s leading marine and maritime city.

“Portsmouth lends itself ideally as a cruise port, with wonderful heritage assets and a spectacular waterfront for arrivals and departures.  We expect the improved facilities to kick start further investment in the city, from hotel capacity to an increase in tourism spending.

“We are determined retain our environmental values, so the terminal will be carbon neutral when completed.

“We are proud of our position as the UK’s most successful local authority owned port, and this new extension will see the port go from strength to strength.”

Mike Sellers Portsmouth International Port’s director said: “We are delivering on our masterplan, which focuses on making space so business can continue to thrive.

“The extension is essential as we are currently relying on a temporary terminal to accommodate additional passengers, so this permanent addition is crucial as the port gets busier.  It is also crucial that this development meets our sustainability ambitions, which is why the extension will be 100% carbon neutral – complementing our existing terminal.

“Our increase in passengers is a result of responding to growth in the cruise and ferry industry, which the port is ideally positioned to deliver thanks to its enviable waterfront location.

“We are delighted to secure business from major cruise lines, as the industry continues to grow in popularity there is a desperate need for more berth capacity so our expansion plans are critical to meet market demand.”

Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP said: “I am delighted the port was successful in its Levelling Up bid, which will generate thousands of jobs for the region.

“The success of Portsmouth International Port requires investment in facilities so it can meet industry demand. There is a real opportunity to provide employment now and for future years as it continues to grow as a major UK port.

“The Levelling Up bid also includes additional funding for Linear Park, which will be a remarkable urban park with a rejuvenated Lido, providing another asset for the port’s passengers to enjoy.

Portsmouth appeals to the small and mid size, luxury, boutique, expedition cruise sector who are looking for a port that sets them apart from the conventional mass market. The port is competing with European destinations and has an opportunity to secure additional revenue for UK GDP, with each cruise call is anticipated to generate up to £1.5 million to the region’s economy.

Mike Crook, Divisional Director for Knights Brown said: “Knights Brown successfully completed the extension to the cruise berth in July 2020 that opened up much more of the cruise market to Portsmouth by allowing significantly larger vessels to berth. We’re thrilled to be back here and working with the team at Portsmouth International Port once again. We’re looking forward to getting the terminal extension underway and to helping the city council and port achieve their ambitions to bring investment to the area and benefit local people.”

The transformation will be cutting-edge in environmental development, helping the port achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050.

The port was part of a successful £20m bid called Transforming the Visitor Economy, which also includes funding for Hilsea Lido and the creation of the UK’s longest urban park  ‘Linear Park’ in the north of the city.

The creation of the longest urban Linear Park in the UK, connects the west of the city to the eastern edge, with enhanced cycling and walking facilities providing a tourist offer that is local, national and international.