A TRADE Mission from Japan has visited Southampton to learn more about the workings of the port's cruise and container operations.

The 13-strong party from the Tokyo Metropolitan Port were welcomed by ABP Southampton Director Alastair Welch.

He gave an overview of the port and set out future projections for continued growth in demand to support the UK's growing export trade.

“The port has seen huge growth over the last 20 years and that is set to continue,” he said.

Makoto Saito, director general of the Bureau of Port and Harbour for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government explained they were particularly keen to learn more about operating cruise terminals as his city hopes to open its first cruise terminal ahead of the Olympics in 2020.

“We are delighted to visit Southampton Port – it has such a tradition and history," said Mr Saito.

“Tokyo Port opened 75 years ago and we are one of the youngest ports in the world. Japan is much behind Europe as far as the cruise business is concerned and we hope to complete the construction of our first terminal for cruise in three years,” said Mr Saito.

The group toured Ocean Terminal, the newest terminal on the port and in the afternoon they visited DP World, where they were taken on a minibus tour of the container port and shown how trucks are turned around in an average of 35 minutes.