A group of 14 Institute of Export students from various IOE educational courses took part in a field trip to the port of Southampton on 2nd August, and experienced at first-hand the operations of a major international sea port.
As guests of Associated British Ports, the operators of the port of Southampton, they were privileged to take as glimpse into the port movements control room, which acts as the port’s nerve centre, controlling and supervising the movement of dozens of vessels of all sizes, from small leisure craft and passenger ferries, to container vessels and oil tankers. The visit was particularly interesting as it took place just hours before the start of Cowes Week, the busiest sailing event in the UK calendar, which brings hundreds of small vessels into the congested waters of the Solent.
A tour of the port also gave students an excellent opportunity to witness the port’s key areas of activity, namely the 3 “Cs”; containers, cars and cruises, as various vessels catering for all of these product areas were being handled. The container berths were of particular interest as many of the students have direct experience of container shipping in their work environment. The group also viewed some of the port’s bulk handling operations, including the grain and scrap metal terminals.
The students agreed that the visit provided a fantastic opportunity to witness the operational activities which underpin a major world-class port. It is hoped that further field trips to ports and other key shipping and logistics centres can be arranged in the future.