Thursday, 9 January 2020

Uncertainty as major shipping firm to leave Portsmouth International Port

Maersk Nijmegen in Portsmouth Harbour. Picture: Tony Weaver

JOBS are at risk as a major shipping company revealed it would no longer do business with a city port.

Danish firm Maersk will be 'moving away' from the services of council-owned Portico, based at Portsmouth International Port.

A Maersk container ship at Portsmouth International Port. Picture: Paul Gonella/StrongIsland

A Maersk container ship at Portsmouth International Port. Picture: Paul Gonella/StrongIsland

Portico, which was previously known as MMD Shipping, confirmed it will need to 'restructure its workforce', but could not say how many jobs would be lost as a result.
Steve Williams, Portico’s operations director, said: 'We have exhausted every option to find a way to accommodate Maersk’s larger ships, but their change in fleet is beyond current capacity for Portico.

'Unfortunately that means the Maersk service moving away from Portsmouth.
'We had fought for a different outcome, but sadly, as a result we have to look at  restructuring the workforce
'We’re now in a period of consultation with staff and will be speaking to everyone directly about how this affects them.
'The size of their new ships means that Maersk have only a small handful of UK ports they can use, none of which have the service levels Portico can supply. However, we understand that this is their business model and will be sorry to see them go.'
It comes as fruit shipping firm Geest Line returned to the port as part of a new five-year deal.
Geest Line had quit Portsmouth for Dover in January 2018 due to having bigger boats, but changes at Portico - including a £15m loan of taxpayer cash - meant the freight operator’s fleet was set to return this month.
Mr Williams added: 'We have based our long term strategy in diversifying the business, this now means we can look at alternative options we couldn’t explore previously because of our commitment to Maersk.

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