Port celebrates record year

Portland Port in Dorset is celebrating a record-breaking year, marking the highest cruise line activity in its 27-year history.

Over eight months from April to November 2023, the port welcomed over 130,000 passengers on 56 ships, contributing over £10m to the local economy.

The record figures are set against a backdrop of protests and anger over the decision to host a controversial barge for illegal immigrants.

The Bibby Stockholm barge arrived in Dorset earlier this year and has been at the centre of controversy ever since.

This economic impact resulted from spending by day excursion visitors in local establishments and attractions, tours of UNESCO world heritage sites, and various transport services.

The port’s substantial investment in infrastructure, including a £26m deep-water berth, has increased capacity, allowing for larger vessels, including those up to 350 meters in length.

The port hosted significant events, such as the christening of the MSC Virtuosa and the largest double cruise day of the season in October.

International guests, primarily from the USA, Germany, the UK, and Canada, contributed to the port’s successful year.