Portsmouth International Port, on the UK’s south coast, has been given a boost to position itself as a leading competitor in the cruise market, following approval to invest £18.7 million to transform facilities.

Funding would allow levelling work to take place on one of the cruise berths, which would mean the port could comfortably accommodate many more cruise lines up to 250m in length.

Following a review of facilities by consultants, plans also include changes to the current terminal building to handle cruise and ferry passengers more efficiently and appropriate walkway access to cruise ships.

It is expected the changes would mean the Port could easily look after 2,000 cruise passengers at any one time.

The city’s location, connection to major transport routes, and capacity, means there is an opportunity to grow the cruise offer.

In 2018 Portsmouth welcomed 48 calls and is looking to grow every year, with an ambition to reach over 100.

Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director said: “Cruise is a market we have a real opportunity to develop, if we provide industry standard infrastructure.

“We’ve listened to the needs of our customers and have developed plans to meet their requirements. We understand that while there are many benefits to our port, this significant investment will have a considerable positive impact on how we look after ships and passengers.

“By levelling our main cruise berth we will be in a position to cater for ships up to 250m and also provide a much improved service.

“While we are fortunate to have a modern terminal, with green credentials, adapting the layout to suit all our passengers more effectively will have a huge impact.

“This is the biggest spend on cruise to date and demonstrates our commitment to the industry.

“Cruise line passengers expect a certain level of service and we need to make sure the port has facilities to match.”

Consultants are working up designs for how the terminal and berth infrastructure will look and the project will be completed by spring 2020.