The Port of Felixstowe has reached a milestone, handling its 70 millionth 20-foot-equivalent unit since container operations began at the England port in the mid-1960s.
The landmark container was loaded aboard the 13,800-TEU MSC Bettina by Patrick McLoughlin, the U.K.’s secretary of state for transport, who drove a container crane under the guidance of one of the port’s crane driving instructors. The MSC Bettina is operated by Mediterranean Shipping Co.
“Shipping and maritime are big business for the U.K. — the sector is already worth up to £14 billion per year to the economy and, most importantly, it is steadily growing,” McLoughlin said. “Our rich maritime history, supported by key financial services and a productive partnership between government and industry, has helped make shipping a real success story for Britain – the volume of goods coming through U.K. ports has tripled in the past 10 years.”
“Our continued commitment to investment has ensured that we have the capacity to support the economic growth of this country, and the equipment and operational excellence to provide our customers with a fast and efficient service,” added Clemence Cheng, CEO of Hutchison Ports, owner of the Port of Felixstowe.
While at the port, McLoughlin met with logistics industry stakeholders and users of the port to learn about how the Port of Felixstowe helps facilitate U.K. trade with the rest of the world. The event followed the opening of the port’s new North Rail Terminal, co-financed by the European Union Trans-European Transport Network, which is expected to double rail capacity at the port and promote the use of rail for container freight.