Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth's new cruise and ferry terminal opens

Portsmouth International Port's new terminal building
Image caption Portsmouth International Port's new terminal building cost more than £16m

Passengers have begun using a new £16.5m ferry and cruise terminal at Portsmouth International Port.

The new 2,700sq m (29,000sq ft) complex opened at midnight, replacing one dating from the 1970s.

Manager Martin Putham said: "It's a very modern and up-to-date terminal, meeting the requirements of modern travel."

More than two million passengers a year are expected to use the city council-owned terminal.

'Airport experience'

The port said the new building is heated and cooled using thermal energy from seawater, using only 20% of the energy of a traditional boiler and chiller system.

BBC reporter Dominic Blake described the facility as "more like an airport experience", with new restaurants, shops, check-in desks and a dedicated VIP area, if required.

Mr Putham said the cruise market was increasingly important to Portsmouth, with a record 36 ships due in the port this year.

Brittany Ferries recently re-opened the ferry route from Portsmouth to Bilbao which was abandoned by P&O last year and the Swan Hellenic cruise ship company is due to operate out of the city in the summer.

Spokesperson for Brittany Ferries Steve Tucknell said: "It's an absolutely fabulous terminal which exceeds our expectations."

Last year Lord Sterling, chairman of Swan Hellenic, caused controversy on a tour of the terminal when he said his passengers did not want to mix with ferry passengers, describing some of them as "semi-lager louts".

The peer later said his comments had been taken "totally out of context".

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