Guests from Saga’s ‘Spirit of Discovery’ cruise ship were the first to experience the new £11.25m passenger terminal on Sunday. Government finance provided by the Levelling-Up fund allowed for the carbon-neutral facility to be constructed.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt saw the terminal for herself on Friday and was delighted for it to be open after 18 months of construction. She told The News: “So much work has gone into this from the levelling up bid which we worked so hard to get.
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“It looks stunning and will attract high-end customers to the city, It will add about £357m to our local economy within a decade and it is a trailblazer building which sets the standard as a ferry port and cruise ship destination."
Ms Mordaunt said 250,000 tourists are expected to go through the new terminal within the next 12 months. The port’s aim is to become a luxury cruise destination due to the money which high-end tourism which brings to the city.
The leader of the house of commons said each cruise ship which visits Portsmouth brings roughly £1.5m to local traders. “We are doubling our ship visits and that looks set to continue”, Ms Mordaunt added.
“We are a destination city, and the new terminal proves it and will facilitate more visits.” The port is the first in the UK to use sea water to heat and cool a terminal building.
Plans are in place for the building to go from being carbon-neutral to carbon-positive – creating more energy than it consumes. Over 100 cruise calls are expected at the port in 2024.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: “The launch of the port’s eco-terminal is a landmark moment for the city and puts Portsmouth on the international map for its ambitions to grow the visitor experience. This dedicated space will accommodate more passengers and help the port manage the anticipated growth of cruise calls to Portsmouth as we focus on the small to medium, luxury and boutique brands.
"It will also act as a second departure gate for ferry passengers too. The port is integral to Portsmouth and supports our ambitions to become a leading marine and maritime city, providing opportunities for residents and high quality experiences for visitors."
The port can now handle ships of up to 300m in length. It also has a sky garden and a walkway leading to an exclusive lounge for passengers to relax.
Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director, said the development has exceeded the port’s ambitions. He added: “"Our Masterplan has focused efforts towards a sustainable future that aims to be the first carbon neutral port by 2030, we’re able to do this by working alongside innovative industries and partners who share our vision.
"In 18 months we now boast an inspiring terminal extension, ready to handle a forecast increase in trade and second departure gate for ferry passengers.” Nigel Blanks, CEO of Saga Cruises, said the quality of the building is “second to none” and guests “thoroughly enjoyed” the experience.
He added: “We were delighted to have played a part in this historic moment for Portsmouth Port as the first cruise operator to welcome our guests through the new terminal.”