Portsmouth is historically known for its naval connections, but it has long been established as a major cargo port. In 2010 Portsmouth handled 3.7 million tonnes of cargo traffic from all over the globe. Cargo shipping destinations include, the Caribbean, Central and South America, South Africa and New Zealand, along with Europe. Container cargo is also ferried from Portsmouth to the Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Wight.
Containers in transit inland will find themselves almost immediately on the motorway network. Just outside Portsmouth is the M275. This is a relatively short strip of road for a motorway, but is a big help to get shipping containers on their journey. Shortly after joining the M275, containers in transit will link up with the M27, which takes you towards Southampton (20 miles). Bypassing Southampton, staying with the M27, drivers will soon find themselves at the start of the M3 motorway, which then takes you right into London. The most notable destination along this route is Basingstoke (49 miles).
With its great naval history, Portsmouth is a great destination for tourism. The historic dockyard is home to three of the greatest warships ever built. The Mary Rose, HMS Victory and HMS Warrior. Some key points in history include :-
During Tudor times, the first warship built at Portsmouth was in 1497, shortly followed by the Mary Rose in 1509. Ships from Portsmouth played a key role driving off the Spanish Armada in 1588.
During the Napoleonic wars, Portsmouth is where Nelson set sail on the HMS Victory, prior to his death at Trafalgar.
Many more battleships were built and launched over the years from Portsmouth for the world wars, and in 1982, many craft were sent from Portsmouth to do battle against Argentina at the Falkland Islands.
Portsmouth will always be best known for its naval history, and its naval base, but Portsmouth harbour has a lot more to offer for commercial users. Along with passenger ferry services, Portsmouth has all of the facilities for freight ferries and shipping containers. Portsmouth handles 70% of all bananas being imported into the UK, along with all citrus fruits from Morocco. They also see a large amount of heavy cargo through the port, such as motor vehicles and timber.