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Stevedoring and ancillary services company Southern Maritime Services has signed a three-year contract with Portsmouth International Port to provide support services for all cruise ships calling in the port.

The agreement will sustain up to 40 jobs each time a cruise ship calls in the port, which is set to handle a growing number of callers this year. PIP, owned by Portsmouth City Council, continues to expand its cruise business with a total of 41 calls booked for 2015.

More than half the calls will be turnaround operations with ships disembarking and embarking hundreds of passengers each time.

The first cruise ship call by the vessel Voyager, operated by Voyages of Discovery, arrived last month and calls will continue until November. New callers at the port this year include Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2, the Portuguese ship Funchal and Noble Caledonia’s Sea Explorer.

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