Associated British Ports (ABP) has announced its plans to open an advanced, open access cruise terminal at the UK’s Port of Southampton to cater to next year’s cruise season.

The fifth dedicated cruise terminal at the port will feature Shore Power connectivity and will utilise roof-mounted solar power.

ABP claimed that its commitment to sustainable operations at the port will allow cruise ships with the right onboard technology to ‘plug in’ at the terminal.

With an investment of more than £55m, ABP is aiming to strengthen the Port of Southampton’s position as a leading departure port in the UK and a leading cruise turn-around port in Europe, ABP added.

The Port of Southampton, in strategic partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruise, expects its newest terminal to support the evolving shipping industry.

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has supported the terminal project through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, with a grant of £8m.

ABP Southampton director Alastair Welch said: “We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality.

“This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”

Solent LEP director and Southampton City Council leader and councillor Christopher Hammond said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the LEPs investment of £8m to bring forward a fifth cruise terminal in Southampton. Not only will this cement our status as the home of the cruise industry, but respects our maritime heritage and underlines our commitment to a sustainable future.

“Whilst both the Council and the LEP continue to work with businesses facing a very challenging winter, we are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth.

“I’m pleased that this investment joins a growing list of public and private commitments to making our city greener, fairer and healthier, whilst providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal.”

Minister for Maritime and Department for Transport Robert Courts said: “Southampton is the heart of UK’s cruising industry and a new terminal will create even more jobs and boost the area’s economy. As we continue to support the cruise sector in its restart and recovery, it’s great to see government funding being used to help deliver better services for passengers.

“This next-generation facility also showcases to ports around the world how we’re pioneering the use of green technology right here in the UK.”