Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Transport, has officially opened Associated British Ports (ABPs) new 7m car-handling facility the European Vehicle Terminal (EVT) - at the Port of Southampton.
In a ceremony and reception hosted by Peter Jones, Chief Executive of ABP, and Doug Morrison, ABP Port Director, Southampton, the terminal was declared open by Jim Fitzpatrick MP. The official opening of the EVT looks set to ensure that Southampton remains the UKs number-one port for the vehicle imports and exports. The new terminal will house up to 2,500 new cars for export to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Built on five levels, the footprint of the Terminal is just under one hectare, and is indicative of ABPs commitment to intensify the use of the existing dock estate as part of an ongoing sustainable development strategy. As well as storage, the EVT also features office space, wash-down facilities and car transporter unloading areas.
In 2002, Southampton became the first British port to construct a multi-deck vehicle storage terminal, allowing the density of cars stored per acre to be increased five-fold, and the new EVT is the third such terminal to be built in the last six years. Through this strategy of multi-deck storage, ABP has created more than 26 additional acres of space in the sky, to secure Southamptons future as a leading hub for vehicle imports and exports.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP said:
The Port of Southampton has a great reputation as a strategic, deep-sea, international gateway vital to the nations economy. The European Vehicle Terminal will help ensure the port remains a key vehicle hub within Europe and continues to serve the British motor manufacturing industry.
ABPs Chief Executive, Peter Jones, added:
The ability to handle a wide array of cargoes and trades is just one of the reasons why Southampton remains the countrys pre-eminent deep sea port. This new terminal is just part of a comprehensive package of investment undertaken at Southampton over the last year, worth more than 60m, that will ensure the ports continued success for many years to come.
Doug Morrison, Port Director, ABP Southampton, said:
The decision to invest 7million in a project of this nature demonstrates our confidence in the future of the car trades at Southampton and our commitment to investing for the long term. While we have seen car volumes affected by the current economic climate, it is imperative that we consider the long-term outlook and invest now to meet future demand. We aim to keep Southampton as the number one port for car imports and exports in the UK. It is investments like these that will put the port in a good position to further grow its market share.
Southampton is currently used by major car manufacturers for the export of British-manufactured Hondas, Fords, Jaguars, Range Rovers, Freelanders, BMW Minis, Rolls-Royces, Nissans, Toyotas and GM models. Vehicle manufacturers importing via Southampton include BMW, Renault and Ford. In 2007 Southampton handled 653,000 units of which 68% were British-built exports.