Uncertainty as major shipping firm to leave Portsmouth International Port
Maersk Nijmegen in Portsmouth Harbour. Picture: Tony Weaver
By FIONA CALLINGHAM
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.
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.
'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.