Interview with Craig Barbour, General Manager for Landside Operations at the Port of Southampton

Can you tell us a little bit more about your role at the Port of Southampton and your career so far?

My current role is General Manager for Landside Operations at the Port of Southampton. As part of this, l am responsible for the Safe, efficient and service focused day to day delivery of 24 hour operations including safety and security across Southampton and Hams Hall Rail Terminal. A big part of my role is ensuring that myself and my team are supporting customer, tenants and authorities across a number of cargo sectors Cruise, Automotive, Containers and many more. 

My previous role at ABP was General Manager on the Humber where I used to look after Humber International Terminal, ABP’s biggest operation. I was also General Manager for Immingham Container Terminals and Dry Bulks Operations Manager at Hull and Goole.

Over the course of my  career in the maritime industry, I have worked across a number of different ports, including the Port of Tyne, Port of Liverpool, Humber and Port of Southampton handling a variety of cargo types.

What is your favourite part of your role?

I am very honoured to work within the port sector. The number one I like about working in maritime are the people. While working with people can be both – challenging and exciting, there is a certain excitement that comes with dealing with a wide group of people every day, whether we’re talking about your own team, customer and local authorities.

Working across different ports has helped me realise that there is something magical about maritime. It’s easy to see how operations at the port have a real impact on local economies, schools and communities. I do feel like when you work for the Port of Southampton you wear the badge with pride and there is a real sense of prestige.

What does a day at work look like for you at the moment? Is it different to before the Covid-19 crisis?

I look after a number of Managers, who cover quite a few different areas including marine planning, operations, safety and security. I enjoy providing leadership on the ground as well as interacting with customers. My goal is to continue to make the port a safer, cleaner and better environment. Our teams are working hard 24/7, 365 days a year, making sure the port is keeping goods flowing and this has remained the case during this pandemic.

Have you seen any extra precautions put into place to ensure everyone’s safety at this difficult time?

I think a really positive thing we have observed is that the communication around increased safety rules has been great locally and from head office. At an Executive level here in Southampton, we have cooperated with all relevant departments to make sure that we are doing the right things to keep colleagues safe. We have put a number of protocols and measures in place. It’s also important to provide teams with the support they need while being mindful that people react differently to stressful situations.

Do you have any tips on how to keep motivated during the pandemic?

I think the most important thing is to be honest. It’s also important to be visible, communicate, support and listen. I cannot overstate the importance of truly listening to colleagues and their concerns. I am really proud of my team for what their fantastic work in difficult circumstances. People are what makes a business successful and we are lucky to have great people. From the Humber to Southampton I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic professionals over the course of my career at ABP.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I love travelling as I have family all over the country and all over the world. Many of my relatives live in France so I try and visit there as much as possible. I enjoy spending time with my wife and friends and my British bulldog, Albert, who’s great. In terms of favourite sports, I also enjoy playing golf and love  football.