UK Cruise Port Announces Huge Multi-Million Investment

Portland Port in the UK to expand with a major new berth development as part of a £26 million investment.

Portland, a highly scenic small island off the UK’s southern coastline, has announced plans to invest £26 Million into a significant berth development.

Portland became well known during the end of the pandemic as a popular port of call for major cruise ships sailing from two nearby cruise homeports, Southampton and Portsmouth. The investments mean that soon Portland will be able to welcome two 350-meter cruise ships. 

Portland UK Invests In Cruise Dock Extension

Portland, a small island off the southern coast of the United Kingdom, has released plans for a massive £26 Million dock extension. The projects involve several extensions and new build additions to the existing docks. They will ultimately lead to the island being able to welcome two cruise ships with a length of 350 meters each.

Alex Hayes, Landside General Manager at Portland Port: “This is a key investment for the port and demonstrates our commitment to the continued development of our infrastructure. The project has taken a lot of time and planning to take it from its initial conception through to implementation.  There is still a lot of work to be done before the project is complete, however, the outcome will be a milestone for the port and its future.”

Development Plan
Image Courtesy: Portland Port

The port already has one existing dock where cruise ships can berth. This dock will see a 74-meter extension to the primary cruise berth, the Outer Coaling Pier (OCP). Ultimately, the port will have more than 16,000 square meters of additional quayside space.

Preparations for the work are already underway and, once completed, will include 380,000 tonnes of locally sourced infill material and 4,800 tonnes of steel. Work is expected to be completed between October 2023 and February 2024.

UK Cruise Industry Continues to See Extensive Growth

The choice for Portland to extend its cruise docks is not surprising given the UK’s cruise industry’s growth, particularly in the last 18 months.

The cruise industry in the United Kingdom is taking on a much more prominent place in the tourism industry each year. With Southampton, the country has one of the busiest cruise ports in Europe.

This port, close to Portland, has been steadily gaining ground on popular cruise ports in the Mediterranean, such as Barcelona, Civitavecchia, and Palma de Mallorca.

Portland Cruise Port
Photo Credit: RogerMechan / Shutterstock

There are several important reasons for this growth. First, the United Kingdom was one of the first countries worldwide to open up cruises during the pandemic. With so-called Seacations, the country offered cruise companies the chance to start operations from ports such as Southampton when cruising in the United States and much of Europe was still essentially banned.

This meant that several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, Princess Cruises, Disney and Cunard, and MSC Cruises sent ships to the UK. This proved incredibly popular as many people saw cruising as a chance to have a vacation break for the first time since the pandemic.

Second is the growth of the biggest UK cruise line and start-up operations from companies such as Ambassador Cruise Line. 

P&O Cruises has seen some of the most significant investments from parent company Carnival Corporation, leading to the cruise line ordering two state-of-the-art cruise ships in the Excellence class, Iona and Arvia. Combined, the two LNG-powered cruise ships add more than ten thousand berths to UK-based cruise lines. 

With around 90 cruise ship calls scheduled to Portland in the coming 18 months, and the UK’s cruise industry seeing positive growth, the investment from Portland Port will significantly boost income from cruise ship tourists. Combined, it looks like the port will be profiting from the investments soon. 


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