Felixstowe: New shipping minister makes fact-finding visit to port

EXECUTIVES at Britain’s biggest container port today welcomed the new shipping minister as he made his first visit to the complex.

Stephen Hammond MP, under secretary of state at the Department for Transport, made a fact-finding trip to the Port of Felixstowe to tour the 700-acre site and see its operations, discuss a number of issues with senior executives, and enjoy lunch on board the container ship Ever Leading, also making her maiden visit to the port.

The 334-metre long vessel, able to carry 8,452 standard-sized boxes, is operated by Evergreen Marine under the British flag.

“Shipping is crucial to the vitality of the UK economy. With this vessel, Evergreen has provided a very tangible sign that Britain is open for business and I welcome it to our shores and to the UK register,” said Mr Hammond.

“In my new role as shipping minister, it has also been a pleasure to see first hand the hard work and investment Hutchison Ports are putting into the largest and busiest container port in the UK.”

Clemence Cheng, managing director of Hutchison Port Holdings Central Europe division, and chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, owners of the Port of Felixstowe, said: “Evergreen is a long-standing partner of Hutchison Ports around the world and an important customer at both Felixstowe and London Thamesport.

“It is an honour for us to welcome the maiden call of Ever Leading to Felixstowe and we look forward to the continuation of our relationship with them and many more calls by this impressive vessel.

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“We are also delighted that the minister has chosen the Port of Felixstowe, the Port of Britain, for his first visit to a UK port in his new role.

“Felixstowe is the UK’s largest container port and provides strategically important links between the UK and important overseas markets.

“We are continuing to invest in new facilities to support the export led growth agenda of the UK government and were able to show the minister the latest developments at the port.

“These important investments underscore Felixstowe’s market-leading position in both container shipping and intermodal rail transport, as well as its unrivalled connections with the UK hinterland.”