Categories: British Ports Association, ESPO, Europe, PortsmouthPublished On: 20.03.2023506 words2.7 min read
ESPO Port Pro of the month

Port pro of the month: Mike Sellers, Port Director, Portsmouth International Port

Our port pro of the month is Mr. Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port Director and Chair of the British Port Association, observer member of ESPO, in the United Kingdom. We discussed with Mike: besides learning more about his port we touched on different interesting topics such as the role of ports as energy hubs, freeports, the cruise sector, and much more.

Can you briefly tell us about Portsmouth International Port? What are its main characteristics and challenges?

We are the UK’s most successful municipal port, considered the best connected by providing the most routes to Europe through our long-term partnership with Brittany Ferries, and we provide a lifeline service for 95% of goods for the Channel Islands.

Portsmouth’s historic and enviable waterfront is also a significant draw for cruise ships, a significant and exciting area of growth.

Our connection to major transport routes and rich maritime heritage, makes the city itself an ideal place for marine related business. Our statutory harbour authority control also looks after one of the busiest stretches of water, with over nine million passengers relying on the port’s operations to travel abroad and for domestic ferry services.

However, to grow we need more space and that’s our main challenge, to keep up with the pace of demand and accommodate.

You just launched a masterplan in 2022 until 2042. What are the main ambitions, pillars of this masterplan? How will your port look like in twenty years? Is this still possible to define a strategy so far ahead given the rapidly changing world and economy?

Anything can happen in 20 years, and as we have recently seen anything can happen within a few weeks, however standing still and waiting for normal service to resume is not an option. The uncertain events we have all faced while daunting present opportunity and clarity over what is important.

Our Masterplan focus made us realise that sustainability is at the core of the port’s future, from that central focus you build around the ideas how to achieve that ambition.

Home to one of the oldest ports in the UK we are proud of being one of the most innovative.

Portsmouth International Port now hosts a Freeport zone. Could you explain the features of the Freeport zone in Solent? What is the importance of this zone for the port? Do you see it as a real game changer?

Establishing a freeport in the Solent is a key component of the Solent 2050 long-term economic strategy. It will unlock billions of pounds’ worth of investment, create tens of thousands of new jobs and play a critical role in achieving national levelling up ambitions.

As the UK’s best-connected port, supported by our international cargo operation Portico, we are able to provide the facilities for a customs site, enabling businesses to benefit from opportunities to bring their goods to and from the UK. . . . . .

. . . . . continue reading the article on the ESPO website here