New figures show Southampton’s port has handled more than 833,000 vehicles over the last year. From cars to light commercial vehicles and heavy units, the total is up 14 per cent from the previous year and cements the port’s position as the UK’s number one car handling port.

With an almost exact 60 per cent export and 40 per cent import split, the port has seen leading automotive brands move through its area, facilitated by almost 1000 roll-on, roll-off (RORO) ship calls. Regular brands include Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, BMW Mini, Ford, Renault, Honda, Toyota and Nissan and, in addition to cars, it has also seen household name construction and agricultural machinery pass through, including JCBs and CATs.

Working alongside its shipping partners, WWL, Eukor, UECC, Grimaldi, Hoegh, NYK and K Line, the port connects the UK with the global automotive market. It has heavily invested in its car parking facility, with five brand-new multi-storey car parks, and its rail network – which now sees an average of five trains handled per day – to ensure the safe delivery of vehicles to-and-from other areas of the UK.

Clive Thomas, port manager, said: “In 2014 we spent approximately £12m on rail, storage areas and berth upgrades to accommodate such significant growth in the auto-motive sector.

“This year we plan on spending another £10m to increase our automotive capability, by delivering even more spaces for storage and parking.”