A £11.25 million “net carbon neutral” terminal extension at Portsmouth port has been opened with the arrival of Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Discovery.
The port claims to have become the first in the UK to use sea water to heat and cool the building.
Other environmental features include wind and solar technology, and internal and external “living walls” to help purify the air.
All the elements combined means the building will generate more energy than it consumes, eventually moving from net carbon neutral to becoming carbon positive, according to the port.
The expanded terminal has been built to accommodate a growth in cruise ship arrivals, which is expected to rise to more than 100 calls in 2024.
A forecast increase in cruise and ferry customers could mean an additional 250,000 passengers a year.
The port can now handle ships up to 300m in length and the associated passenger capacity they carry, following a major berth extension, coupled with the new terminal.
Portsmouth appeals to the small to medium sized, luxury and expedition cruise and ferry sector.
Port director Mike Sellers said: “This terminal transformation follows a number of significant infrastructure projects to position Portsmouth as not only one of the UK’s leading ports, but a global one too.
“From the start of this development we were determined to retain our environmental values, however we have now exceeded our ambitions and the new terminal extension with its sophisticated engineering is on track to generate more energy than it uses.”
He added: “Our masterplan has focused efforts towards a sustainable future that aims to be the first carbon neutral port by 2030, we’re able to do this by working alongside innovative industries and partners who share our vision.
“In 18 months we now boast an inspiring terminal extension, ready to handle a forecast increase in trade and second departure gate for ferry passengers.”
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, cabinet member responsible for the port, added: “This is a landmark moment for the city and puts Portsmouth on the international map for its ambitions to grow the visitor experience.
“Portsmouth lends itself ideally as a cruise port, with wonderful heritage assets and a spectacular waterfront for arrivals and departures. This new terminal extension is hoped to kick start further investment in the city, from hotel capacity to an increase in tourism spending.
“As the UK’s most successful local authority owned port, we’re building on our strong partnerships with long-term customers such as Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries, who share our values and ethos.
“Likewise we have been fortunate to see a variety of new cruise ships visit Portsmouth for the first time, as well as repeat calls from major brands.”
Saga Cruises chief executive Nigel Blanks said: “We were delighted to have played a part in this historic moment for Portsmouth Port as the first cruise operator to welcome our guests through the new terminal.
“The quality of the building and the attention to detail that has gone into its development really are second to none, and our guests thoroughly enjoyed the new arrival experience.”