The magnificent surroundings of London’s Trinity House were the setting for a champagne reception organised by Associated British Ports (ABP) to mark the beginning of London International Shipping Week and celebrate the 175thanniversary of ABP’s Port of Southampton.
The event was attended by over one hundred guests including the Rt Hon David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales; Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport; Admiral the Rt Hon Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC, former Head of the Royal Navy; and His Excellency Thambynathan Jasudasen, the High Commissioner of Singapore.
Guests joined ABP in marking a milestone anniversary for its Port of Southampton with entertainment by the acclaimed sea shanty singers, The Roaring Trowmen. ABP Chief Executive James Cooper also announced the findings of the group’s recent economic impact study, showing that in 2012 ABP contributed £5.6 billion to the UK economy and supported 84,000 jobs. The study, undertaken by Arup, also demonstrates that ABP’s current planned investment of £450 million promises an extra £1.6 billion for the economy in the years ahead.
Mr Cooper said: ABP was delighted to welcome so many distinguished guests to mark London International Shipping Week and celebrate the 175thanniversary of the Port of Southampton.
The success of our event demonstrates the strong support for an initiative to promote the UK port and maritime sector, recognising its essential contribution to our economy.
The excellent turnout was also of course a tribute to the Port of Southampton’s ongoing success as a leading international gateway. For example, a recent independent study by the Journal of Commerce has found that Southampton is the most efficient container port in Europe.
Such achievements are thanks to the hard work of the team at the port, whose efforts, together with continued investment, will allow the port’s success to continue for many, many more years to come.
Other guests included Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport; Lucy Chadwick, Director General of the International, Security and Environment Group within the Department for Transport; and Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB CBE, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Representatives of constituencies in which a number of ABP’s operations are based were also present, including the Rt Hon John Denham MP, MP for Southampton Itchen and the Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, MP for Hull West & Hessle.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond MP said:
We are proud of the UK’s maritime heritage, and the commercial expertise in this area. Our ports industry is a fine example “ it is an engine for growth, creating jobs and delivering a boost to the economy.
Shipping is not just part of our past. It is a vibrant and dynamic part of our present and our future – worth up to £14bn a year to our economy, and steadily growing.
Southampton is part of this and has a proud place in our maritime history, as well as a key role in the industry’s future “ as I saw for myself on a recent visit.