Name switch shows port's global reach

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Beachbuggin on Southsea Common. Picture: Allan Hutchings

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Portsmouth's ferry port has changed its name as it bids to take more business from around the world.

Traditionally, voyagers to France and Spain from the city have travelled from the Continental Ferry Port.

But it has now been renamed Portsmouth International Port to reflect its growing global status for ferries and cruise ships.

Portsmouth City Council's economic boss and MP, Mike Hancock, said: 'There's been a real team effort to achieve what's happened at the port, and the new name really reflects its true nature.

'It's not just a coastal port, it's an international link bringing passengers and freight.

'We have a brand new terminal, new ships coming in and new companies carrying goods.'

The last year has seen the council-owned port grow in all areas, with a 16.5m passenger terminal due to be completed at the end of next month as its centrepiece.

In business terms, its cruise offer this year will increase from 11 ship calls to 40, mainly thanks to a new deal which will see Swan Hellenic, Hebridean Island Cruises and Voyages of Discovery Cruises move from Southampton.

The port also tied up a 1m deal with Del Monte, the first time the fruit company has ever used Portsmouth as a freight port.

It will see around 1,500 tonnes of Caribbean pineapples, bananas and melons brought in every week, starting tomorrow.

Del Monte joins Fyffes as a client of the port, and both will benefit from a plan to dredge the facility, currently 7.3m deep at low tide, to 9.3m.

Port manager Martin Putman said: 'As we develop to include a substantial number of cruise operators, alongside our existing ferry partners, it's clear the port has to have an identity that reflects all our business activities.

'With a new terminal opening soon it's perfect timing for a name change.'

Tory Councillor Donna Jones, part of the council's cross-party Port Authority Board, added: 'The change to the port's name, like its new contracts, is good news.

'In these austere times, this is exactly the way Portsmouth needs to be going.

'It is an international, not just national, centre,' she added.