Southampton based firm, Williams Shipping, a marine and logistics company synonymous with the city, are celebrating their125th year in business on the South Coast.

Headquartered in Millbrook, just outside the container terminal at Dock Gate 20, the company also has bases on the Eastern Docks and in Nursling. Today it provides a range of specialist services and expertise to the marine, construction, engineering, defence, renewable energy and shipping industry.

Williams Shipping was founded in 1894 by George Williams, who was then joined by his son, Jim, at the age of just 13. The company began life in in Ashlet Creek near Fawley.

George converted an ex-Royal Navy longboat into a sailing barge, and used it to carry cargoes such as building materials and grain across the south coast and to the Isle of Wight.

In 1947 the company opened offices in Southampton’s Town Quay, assisting the town’s marine industries with a broad range of marine and dockyard services such as towage, craneage, crew transfers and stores deliveries.

125 years in business is a significant milestone for any company, but Williams Shipping has also remained family-run throughout that time.

Many of the Williams families are keen sailors and familiar faces to those who sail in the area.

Today, the company is run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Williams family with Eric Williams as Chairman.

Speaking about the momentous anniversary, Eric Williams, said: “125 years in business is something truly remarkable. It is incredible to look back and think how much things have changed. I know that Southampton today would be unrecognisable to my great-grandfather.

“This anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate not only where we are today as a business, but also how we got here.”

During the Second World War, the company provided support for military movements in the area including transporting equipment, supplies and the particularly hazardous job of transporting ammunition.

In the 1950s and 1960s Williams Shipping began to diversify, setting up divisions in road haulage, marine lubricants and shipping containers and site accommodation. Originally based near Fawley, in 1987 the company moved its marine activities to the Eastern Docks and its transport activities to its current headquarters in Millbrook.

It also has offices in Pembroke and Aberdeen and opened a new facility in Nursling.

Eric Williams added: “It is by building on our heritage and tradition that we are able to be in the strong position that we are in today.”

To mark the occasion, Williams Shipping will be supporting Southampton Hospital Charity and other local charities.

They hosted a party which was open to all its 100 members of staff and their partners and supporting events across the region including ABP Marathon and the Romsey Relay.

“When you have been in business for as many years as Williams Shipping, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by giving back to the local community which has been supporting us from the beginning." continued Eric Williams. I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank each and every person who has been instrumental in supporting us on our journey, and it is with great pride, excitement and confidence we look forward to taking the company into the next 25 or even 125 years.”