Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Port Group Marks Decades of Container and Freight Handling in Two Locations

Town and City Helped to Host Separate Celebrations
Shipping News Feature

UK – Any major port tends to be at the very heart of the local community, often generations have grown up with the docks as a background to a town or city providing employment and shaping local businesses and even culture. For Associated British Ports (ABP) the last few weeks have provided an opportunity to celebrate in two different ways a pair of the places in which the company’s activities handling containers and general freight have been an essential part of their identity for many years.

ABP’s unique relationship with Southampton is to be captured in oil and canvas as part of the city’s 50th anniversary celebrations. 2014 marks 50 years of Southampton having city status and to celebrate ABP Port of Southampton has commissioned an artist in residence to document the city’s links with the docks. Lee Campbell, winner of the Painters Stainers Award, will be based at the port for several months and produce artwork across a number of different mediums, including oils, charcoal and graphite. She will take inspiration from the city’s architecture, rich building materials and people as she produces a series of five exclusive pieces.

The project will culminate in the autumn with an exhibition at the port’s Ocean Cruise Terminal and Lee Campbell expressed her delight in having the opportunity to take on such a prestigious commision saying:

“There are so many links between Southampton and the port, from the buildings that populate it to the animals that call it home. I’m very much looking forward to getting under the skin of Southampton over the coming months and speaking to the people linked to the port who contribute to its rich personality.

”It’s not just the port that will provide my inspiration and I’m excited about getting into the city centre and surrounding areas to meet local people and see what they think links the port with its surroundings. The beauty of oil and charcoal over photography is that I can blend my interpretations with theirs to create something imaginative and thought-provoking.”

Nick Ridehalgh, ABP Director at Southampton commented that the special relationship between port and the City was a partnership that had endured for 175 years commenting:

“It’s not simply how the port supports 15,000 jobs, the vast majority of them for local people. Or that it generates £1 billion for the economy, again, most of that in the region. It’s the fact that the port is such an important part of the city and the local community. As the city marks this milestone in its history, we wanted to play our part by showcasing the key role the port plays in day-to-day life in Southampton.”

Meanwhile the recent Maritime Festival held in Ipswich gave local ABP staff the chance to help celebrate one of their local investments, the company owns and operates the Port of Ipswich as well as two other East Anglian Ports, King’s Lynn and Lowestoft. Combined these ports contribute £340 million to the UK economy each year, support 3,577 jobs in the region and a further 5,000 jobs nationally.

The celebrations saw ABP’s Ipswich Haven Marina welcome over 140 visiting yachts for the culmination of the town’s highly successful Festival. Visitors included a 40-strong fleet of Old Gaffers, traditional sailing vessels with a particular style of ‘gaff rigging’, some of which date back to the 19th century. Other highlights of the weekend included historic vessels on Orwell Quay, a V39 wartime steamboat, as well as classic barges and the oldest RNLI lifeboat, the James Stevens No.14. On Saturday evening visitors were treated to a laser lightshow along the marina walls and on Sunday night the weekend was rounded off with a spectacular firework display. Marina Manager Linda Pipe said:

“The weekend was fantastic and we were delighted to be able to offer our support and help showcase not only what a wonderful tourist destination Ipswich has become but how thriving the waterfront really is. A great time was had by all and special thanks should go to the team at the marina and to our visitors who helped make the weekend such a success.”

Photo: The Maritime Festival in full swing for young and old. Courtesy of Ipswich Town and Waterfront.