Royal congratulations as Felixstowe port marks major milestone in its history
- Credit: Archant
Britain’s busiest boxport has received a Royal letter of congratulations on its latest milestone – 50 years of handling containers.
In her letter to the Port of Felixstowe, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, fondly recalled her three visits to the port, during two of which she climbed a quayside crane to load a container onto a ship and also drove a portside tug.
In a fourth visit inside the 700-acre port complex, she officially opened new gardens at the Felixstowe Seafarers’ Centre.
In her letter to port owners Hutchison Ports, she said the growth of sea trade in the past 50 years had matched the incredible first growth of shipping in the 1600s.
She said: “This growth, which has raised living standards for people at home and abroad, would not have been possible without the advent of the shipping container.
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“As the UK’s first operational container terminal, and still its largest container port, the Port of Felixstowe has played a vital role in this growth.
“My first visit to the port was in 1979 to open a passenger ferry terminal. I returned in 1986 to open Trinity Terminal and again in April 2011 when Berths 8&9 were first opened.
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“I would like to congratulate the Port of Felixstowe on the 50th anniversary of dedicated container operations. As we celebrate the past we must also look to the future, and I know the UK port industry is doing this by developing facilities for the latest generation of giant container ships upon which our trade depends. Good luck to everyone involved in this important work.”
The port’s first dedicated container terminal opened in 1967 when it was part of a variety of working methods on the quaysides and viewed as quite revolutionary.
Today the port has more than two miles of containers quays and handles more than 3,000 ships a year and four million standard-sized containers.
Clemence Cheng, port chief executive officer, said: “Globalisation could not have happened without the container.
“This simple steel box has generated immeasurable wealth for literally billions of people.
“The volume of trade made possible by the container has lifted large parts of the world out of poverty and continues to help developing economies to grow and developed economies to prosper.
“A world without the container is unimaginable.”