a view from the bridge of the 'Whitonia', courtesy of Whittaker Tankers

Record-breaking attendance at Portsmouth International Port’s community open day followed a big win at the Maritime UK Solent awards, held in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Following the success of the 2022 port open day, the local community, staff and their families were invited to enjoy an array of exhibitions from port partners, interactive stands and behind-the-scenes access to port operations. Nearly 2000 people attended, smashing last year’s total of 900 visitors.

a view of the exhibitor hall at the port's open day,

Open from 10am – 4pm on Saturday 7 October, the open day was a chance for the public to experience the port’s innovative net carbon neutral terminal extension, made possible through £11.25m of Levelling Up funding to transform the city’s visitor economy. 35 of port’s partners came along with stands to speak to the public about their work in the maritime, construction and education sectors.

Portico, who operate the international cargo terminal cargo terminal at the port, brought a wide range of their impressive cargo handling equipment over to the port for an interactive demonstration. They were joined by a fleet of different ships of all sizes, including Wightlink’s ‘Wight Ryder I’ and Whittaker Tankers‘ ‘Whitonia’, where the public were able to get on board. Free harbour tours provided by Solent Cruises were also incredibly popular.

Mike Sellers, port director at Portsmouth International Port said:

“I’m delighted at the success of the port’s open day this year. We’ve received excellent feedback from the public who relish the opportunity to have a look ‘behind the scenes’  and the see progress we’ve made in achieving our ambitions.

“As a port owned by the people of Portsmouth, it’s a joy to be able to invite so many people in to see what we do. I’d also like to thank our staff and all our partners who made the day a big success.”

The community open day followed a win at the Maritime UK Solent awards on Thursday, which celebrate the region’s outstanding maritime sector and the people who drive it to be a world-leading regional industry. The port won the ‘Net Zero Navigator’ award, which was established to recognise maritime businesses who are wholly committed to moving their Solent-based operations towards zero emissions.

From L-R: Ian Palacio, business development manager at Portsmouth International Port; Elly Toyer, environment and sustainability coordinator at Portsmouth International Port alongside Tom Dynes, general manager of landside operations for Southampton at Associated British Ports (ABP) who sponsored the award.
From L-R: Ian Palacio, business development manager at Portsmouth International Port; Elly Toyer, environment and sustainability coordinator at Portsmouth International Port alongside Tom Dynes, general manager of landside operations for Southampton at Associated British Ports (ABP) who sponsored the award.

Portsmouth City Council‘s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Greening the City, Cllr Kimberly Barrett said:

“It’s fantastic that the port’s blueprint to reach carbon net-neutral by 2030, and become zero-emission by 2050 has been recognised by the maritime industry.  They’ve turned the port into a living laboratory of green technology, with sustainable innovations such as smart batteries and huge solar installations installed across the port.

“This will be complemented by the ground-breaking Sea Change shore power system in early 2025 which will allow ships to turn off their engines. As a municipal port owned by Portsmouth City Council, I’m proud they are playing their part in our wider efforts to reduce our impact on the environment.”