Located on England’s channel coast, just 50 miles south of London, Shoreham Port is ideally positioned for the onward distribution of imported goods across the southern half of the UK.

Now, with a programme of major investment in new facilities and equipment under way, the port is offering a chance for shippers of forest and steel products to join it in a strategic partnership to develop an efficient, modern import terminal.

This opportunity, said Shoreham Port’s chief executive Rod Johnstone, arises out of a previously proposed project for the 14-acre site, which – though it reached an advanced stage – will not now go ahead.

“Having done all the ground work associated with that project we know a terminal operation is feasible,” he said. “We had identified a large area within the port ideal for a terminal operation. Given we already have a significant quantity of timber here and that Shoreham has many decades of experience in handling timber products, there is every intention to expand into a wider range of forest products including commodities like pulp, paper and board.”

Under the previous project a 20,000m2 warehouse was planned for the site. “That gives some indication of the scale of the land,” said Mr Johnstone. “It’s quite a chunk of real estate, and from a marine infrastructural point of view everything exists. The entire area is paved and lit.”

Mutual benefits

He expects the partnership to be mutually beneficial. “We put in the infrastructure, which our partner would rent from us, but in addition we are prepared to invest in more warehousing as well as plant and equipment. That investment has already begun and clearly demonstrates our willingness to invest further.”

Mr Johnstone believes a larger player in the industry would benefit most from a Shoreham base and is looking towards the Scandinavian and Baltic countries for prospective partners in the project, partly because their ports are of a similar size to Shoreham. “Realistically we can accommodate vessels up to 5,000 tons,” he said.

“We already have an excellent reputation within our industry for ship turnaround and we offer first class services at a reasonable price. We are not the cheapest but neither are we the most expensive. In addition we have plenty of strategically placed land and already have a very loyal customer base in the timber business. Our location smack in the middle of the south coast can only increase Shoreham’s attractiveness as a distribution hub, adding yet more value to a terminal located here.”


As part of its cargo-handling strategy Shoreham Port’s wholly-owned stevedoring company, Sussex Port Forwarding, has developed a unique stock control system. The track-a-pack system uses bar code and radio frequency technology to allow customers to monitor stock records via the internet. It allows buyers to view up-to-date information and facilitates total inventory visibility for just in time deliveries. Customers report significant external benefits from track-a-pack, obtaining improved access to stock identification on discharge, which facilitates faster turnaround on lorry movements.

These plus points combine in Mr Johnstone’s vision for the future. “My vision would be that you have a terminal in Hull feeding down the country and a terminal in Shoreham servicing northwards with the two meeting around Birmingham. It’s about having strategically positioned termini in the UK that are able to serve the whole country.”