Portsmouth International Port gears up for 40th anniversary celebrations

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FOUR decades of ferry travel is being celebrated this summer at Portsmouth International Port.

Forty years ago Portsmouth City Council responded to calls from ferry operators for a facility that would cut crossing times from the south coast of England to France.

From small beginnings in 1976, Portsmouth International Port has made a big impact through careful planning and investment.

Martin Putman, port manager

The investment paid off as since it opened on June 17, 1976, the port has generated more than £70m – money that is used to fund public services.

The port has seen 90m passengers, 25.5m passenger vehicles and 8.5m units of freight come and go to Europe on 135,000 ferry crossings.

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 an ever changing maritime industry, providing an important source of jobs and income for the local economy.’

A busy summer schedule of events will mark the 40th anniversary.

On June 1 staff, children and dignitaries will gather in the passenger terminal for the opening of a display that tells the story of the port, and takes people back to the 1970s with items and images from the time.

A classic Mini will be parked inside the modern terminal to show just how much has changed for family travel since 1976.

On June 8, guests will attend a lunch on board Brittany Ferries Bretagne. The ferry operator was heavily involved with the conception of Portsmouth International Port. This summer it is celebrating 30 years of its service to Caen, the most popular route from Portsmouth to France.

And throughout June, GCSE students will visit for interactive lessons, delivered by staff and students from Highbury College. The sessions will focus on the impact and importance of the ferry business over the last 40 years, and changes to family holidays since Portsmouth International Port opened in 1976.

Then on June 17 staff will mark the day 40 years ago that the first ferry sailed to France.

There will also be a display in the steel and glass terminal for the summer season for passengers and visitors to enjoy.

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