SOUTHAMPTON port could be in for another record-breaking year in 2018.

That’s the prediction of top port boss Alastair Welch, who is anticipating even more cruise ships and mega-container vessels to visit the city this year.

The ABP Southampton director said: “This is set to be another important year for the port.

“Across automotive, cruise, containers and bulks we are anticipating another record-breaking year.

“We’ll be working hard to ensure the port continues to deliver the best possible service for our customers, maintaining its position as the nation’s gateway to the world.

“And in terms of investment, we will be spending an average of £75,000 a day on our infrastructure to meet the continuing needs of our customers.”

It comes after a successful 2017, in which the port handled £40 billion of exports.

Of those exports, 90 per cent were destined for countries outside the EU.

The port serves as the UK’s number one port for automotive exports and provides British manufacturers with essential access to international markets.

As a result, there were an estimated 950,000 vehicles passing through the port in 2017, a six per cent increase on the 900,000 from 2016.

The port is also home to the UK’s second largest container terminal and each year handles around one million containers.

Its role has been cemented by more than £280 million of investment over the past five years, including more than £50 million in brand new state-of-the-art vehicle export facilities.

This includes its newest vehicle terminal, which was opened by trade minister, Greg Hands MP in November.

Southampton is also the UK’s number one cruise port, with over 500 calls each year.

That brings an estimated two million passengers every year – with each cruise reportedly boosting the city’s economy by £2.5 million.

In addition, the port hosts some three million ferry passengers travelling to and from the Isle of Wight.

Last week, the port was boosted by the announcement of a £100 million plan to fix one of Hampshire’s busiest road bottlenecks.

Highways England wants to carry out major work to the M3 junction 9 at Winnall, where the motorway meets the A34.

It is hoped the scheme will be completed by 2023 and help support developments at Southampton container port which is expected to increase freight traffic on the M3 and A34 by one third of the current levels.


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