Last Thursday our shipping company Uniserve invited us to the port of Felixstowe to help us understand more about how the sea freight industry operates. The Port of Felixstowe is Britain’s biggest and busiest container port, and one of the largest in Europe. Check out the video at the bottom of this page to see the scale of what goes on in Felixstowe. In 2006 the largest container ship in the world was the Xin Los Angeles i was thrilled to find out that we would be invited aboard to meet the crew and see the remarkable view of Felixstowe from the bridge of the ship. This trip was particularly exiting for me as i have already seen the ports at Ningbo and Shanghai.
Upon arriving on the quay i felt dwarfed by the humongous infrastructure Felixtowe has to offer, I was amazed at the sheer size of the cranes, warehouses and stacks upon stacks of containers.
First of all we where whisked through the control room which is where the containers are allocated onto the ships and bays on the quay, with over 3 million containers a year this was the brains of the operation individually choosing where and when each box should be moved. If an error was made in this industrial game of Tetris the backlash could effect containers being moved in Rotterdam, Hamburg as well as ports as far as Singapore and Shanghai.
At around 1 o clock we hopped on our coach joined by a police escort to take us to the ship, We met a representative from China Shipping who took us along the path towards the humongous Xin Los Angeles whilst giving us high vis jackets and hard hats. Looking upwards towards the sky containers are shifted quickly by cranes above your head needless to say our hard hats would not have offered much protection if one of these fell on you. Boarding the vessel it felt like a scene from Captain Phillips i cant imagine how weird it must be when they are hundreds of miles at sea.
The Xin Los Angeles being a China Shipping owned vessel gave me a great opportunity to practice my mandarin skills with some of the staff on board. We where taken to the "Bridge" which is a platform at the top of the ship from which the vessel can be commanded, I have popped some images of the view across Felixtowe in the gallery bellow it really was wonderful.
I want to thank all the staff at The Port of Felixstowe, China Shipping and of course Uniserve for a fantastic day out.