Portsmouth port gears up for 40th birthday celebrations

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones, Martin Putman, port manager and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller.   Picture: Sarah Standing
Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones, Martin Putman, port manager and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller. Picture: Sarah Standing

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Four decades of ferry services from Portsmouth International Port are being recognised with a special celebration.

This summer the port is marking its 40th anniversary by organising a schedule of events.

Staff, children and dignitaries gathered in the passenger terminal on Wednesday for the opening of a display that tells the story of the port.

The display centrepiece is a classic Mini that is parked inside the terminal – showing just how much has changed for family travel since 1976.

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.’

In 1976 Portsmouth City Council responded to calls from ferry operators for a facility that would cut crossing times from the south of England to France. The investment paid off as the port has generated more than £70m since it opened.

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

The opening of the display on Wednesday was the start of a busy summer schedule of events.

On June 8 guests will attend a lunch on board Brittany Ferries Bretagne.

The ferry operator was heavily involved with the conception of the port and it is celebrating 30 years of its service to Caen, the most popular route from Portsmouth to France.

Throughout June, GCSE students will visit the port for interactive lessons, delivered by Highbury College.

On June 17, staff will come together to mark the day 40 years ago that the first ferry sailed to France.

The display will remain in the terminal for the summer season for all to enjoy.