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ABP Opens £4m Vessel Traffic Service in Southampton

ABP Opens £4m Vessel Traffic Service in Southampton

Associated British Ports (ABP) has opened a £4 million Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operating room at the port of Southampton, as part of the firm’s investment in improving efficiency and safety in waterways around the port and in the Solent.

The UK’s Minister of State for Shipping, John Hayes, opened the centre on September 21.

The VTS staff will have responsibility for the daily management of the waterways around the port. They will co-ordinate the movement of all vessels and shipping, including cruise liners and container ships, right down to leisure boats and small yachts. It will incorporate an automatic identification system, a radar system, fibre optic cabling and CCTV cameras.

Alastair Welch, ABP Southampton Port Director, said that the VTS investment has come at a time when the company is investing in new port and terminal facilities.

Welch said: “We have over 1.8 million visitors passing through each year on the Solent, so it is vital our technology matches the scale of our operations. Safety is paramount at the port, and our latest investment will ensure the continued safe passage of all vessels on one of the UK’s busiest stretches of water.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hayes commented: “It is vital for the UK’s economy that the world’s largest commercial and cruise ships are able to call safely at the UK’s world leading ports. The state-of-the-art safety systems will keep commercial and leisure vessels safe in the waters around the Port of Southampton.”

The port accommodates container ships, cruise liners, small yachts and leisure boats, as well as handles 26 million tonnes of commodities on average every year.

It recently invested £50m in vehicle handling facilities and £8.3m to upgrade its fresh produce terminal.

ABP, which operates the port of Southampton, currently employs around 15,000 people across the nation and contributes nearly £1bn to the nation’s economy annually.

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