The port of Southampton is a truly premier league player in the handling of container cargo. Located on the South coast in Hampshire, in 2010 the port handled 39 million tonnes of cargo traffic. It has the facilities to handle virtually any type of cargo, with its natural deep-water harbour and unique double tide allowing unrestricted access for the world’s largest vessels. Southampton is only second in size in the UK to Felixstowe.
Southampton is the UK’s leading handler of vehicles, and also a major port for the handling of liquid, dry bulks and containers. Almost half of the UK’s containerised trade is handles by Southampton, including the whole of the Far East. The port is also the sole handler for all fresh produce imports from the Canary Islands.
The port is situated 10 miles inland, where the rivers Test and Itchen meet, this is known as Southampton water. The transit roads leading out of Southampton are only A grade routes, but reaching the motorway network is quick and easy. The M271 is only 4 miles from the port, and the M27 only 6 miles. Transportation via the M271 takes you West to the M27. From here containers in transit can head West to Bournemouth, into Somerset and beyond. Travelling directly from the port of Southampton to the M27 would take you East, and within close proximity of the M3 motorway. The M3 would then take you north through Winchester (13 miles) and Basingstoke (32 miles) before joining the motorway network around London.
Southampton is a port that dates back to Roman times, and over the centuries has been a very important base for naval shipbuilding, and a departure point for soldiers going to war. It is probably still most notable as the departure point for RMS Titanic on its maiden voyage, but the port of Southampton has always been a major port for the import and export trade.
As far back as the Roman times, Southampton was trading with the likes of France, Greece and the Middle East. Exporting wool to these far off destinations, whilst importing wines and fine pottery. Later trades were being linked with Italy, where Southampton was handling perfume, spices and silk from Italy, and still exporting wool. After a very long quiet period (some two centuries), trading once again thrived through the port of Southampton in the 1800’s. They were handling wine and fruit from Spain and Portugal, along with commodities from home shores. Stone from Scotland and coal from Newcastle, just two of many. Now Southampton is truly an international port importing and exporting container cargo around the world.