Cruise handling specialists SCH have handled the inaugural call in Southampton of the Silversea Cruises ship Silver Muse.

The biggest ship in the Silversea fleet, delivered earlier this year, arrived from Lisbon, and was shown off to UK travel experts on a one-night trip in the Channel before sailing on a 16-night transatlantic voyage to Canada.

Having won the contract to handle all Silversea calls in Southampton earlier this year, SCH has been regularly handling the Silversea vessels Silver Whisper, Silver Explorer and Silver Wind on their visits to the port this cruise season.

At 40,700 tonnes and with accommodation for just under 600 guests, Silver Muse is the biggest ship to join the Silversea fleet, having entered service  earlier this year after being built in Italy.

SCH Cruise Operations Manager Glen Gardner explained: “Silver Muse is a prestigious addition to the fleet of luxury ships operated by Silversea and her call brought a fitting end to the 2017 season for the line’s Southampton calls. It has been a highly successful first season for us in handling Silversea ships and we look forward to their return to Southampton next year.”

SCH provided a wide range of support for Silver Muse including baggage handling, mobility assistance, stores loading and mooring. Some 300 tonnes of stores were loaded and 500 passengers embarked for the transatlantic voyage.

Silver Muse


Cruise Vessel Berlin

SCH has added to its portfolio of cruise ship customers with the first 2017 call in Southampton of FTI Cruises vessel Berlin, as part of a two-week round Britain cruise.

SCH provided mooring and other support services as part of the transit call made by the 412-passenger capacity Berlin when she arrived from Guernsey and subsequently sailed for Bremerhaven.

The call by Berlin came in the midst of a busy five-day period when SCH and its sister companies provided support for 18 cruise ships across Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth.

For SCH sister company Southern Maritime Services, it was one of the busiest days of the season with two calls by Noble Caledonia vessels that involved several hundred passengers travelling through Portsmouth International Port. The luxurious Hebridean Sky was on a private charter, while the small ship Serenissima set sail on a ten-day cruise through western France to Bordeaux.

In Liverpool, SCH carried out its regular task of mooring, baggage handling, storing and car parking for passengers joining the CMV Marco Polo for a month-long voyage to the US and Canada, while the German vessel Aidavita made a one-day call as part of a round Britain trip.

In addition to the Berlin, cruise ship support in Southampton saw SCH and Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS) provide 13 ships with stevedoring and car parking services over the five day period. CPS carried out passenger car parking for Cunard, P&O and Princess Cruises, while SCH supported full turnarounds for Royal Caribbean International (RCI), Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

Disembark and embark services were provided for over 15,000 passengers and hundreds of tonnes of stores loaded as the busy 2017 schedule in Southampton continued. In addition, SCH also provided its regular menu of mooring and storing services for the TUI vessel Mein Schiff 4 as she made a transit call during her voyage from Germany to the Mediterranean.


Leading roll-on/roll-off cargo handlers Southampton Cargo Handling (SCH) have secured the stevedoring contract to handle all Renault vehicles being shipped through the Port of Southampton.

The move follows the success of Euro Marine Logistics (EML), a joint venture project between Mitsui OSK Lines and Hoegh Autoliners, in winning the shipping contract for some 60,000 Renault vehicles a year that pass through Southampton.

EML is making calls every four days in the port after loading vehicles in France and Spain. SCH will also be responsible for receiving and loading EML cargoes being exported through Southampton.

The contract strengthens SCH’s position as a leading handler of ro-ro cargoes in Southampton, having loaded and discharged more than 200,000 units last year. The company is already on course to surpass that total in 2017.

SCH Director Lee Davis explained: “Our expertise in handling ro-ro cargoes has enabled us to increase the volumes that we handle through Southampton considerably, helping the port’s ro-ro business to grow at the same time as expanding our own business. The Renault business is expected to add nearly 30 per cent to our annual volumes.”


Port terminal operators SCH have diversified further by taking over the management and operation of Pre-Delivery Inspection and modification centres preparing BMW vehicles and imported motor cycles for the UK market.

SCH, which carries out stevedoring and other port related operations in locations including Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth and Sheerness, will operate the BMW technical preparation centres in Southampton, Oxford and Sywell, near Northampton, which is a new centre dealing exclusively with motor cycles.

The contract has been awarded for a period of four years, with an option for a further three years.

SCH has recruited around 30 personnel for the operation at Sywell which will involve work to prepare some 10,000 motorcycles sold into the UK market every year. The machines, spanning the full BMW range, are imported from Germany and are stored, inspected and fitted with accessories at Sywell.

The Sywell facility, around 75,000 square feet, replaces the process previously carried out for motorcycles at the BMW Thorne centre near Doncaster. It is a secure, refurbished building with the option to expand as required and includes purpose-installed storage racking and work bays.

SCH has also taken over the operation of preparation centres at Oxford and Southampton that handle more than 50,000 BMW vehicles year, fitting accessories and modification ready for the vehicles to enter the UK market.

Nearly 50 employees, including specialist technicians, have been transferred to SCH from the previous contractor with work content including PDI and modification work on BMWs built in Europe and the US and Minis built in the UK.

SCH already handles BMW Mini cars at Oxford, loading vehicles on trains for export ports Southampton and Purfleet, where the company is also responsible for discharging the cars from trains. Part of the new contract with BMW includes an increased responsibility for movement of Minis at the Oxford manufacturing plant.

SCH Director Ian Morrison commented: “The award of this work enhances the current relationship we have with BMW and is an important new addition to the SCH portfolio. Our automotive services business has grown considerably over the last two years and we are keen to continue this development and increase our influence within the sector.”


SCH sister company Viper Maritime Security (VMS) moved straight into the champions league when it was selected to provide security for the cruise vessel CMV Magellan, which had been chartered as a floating hotel berthed in Newport for visitors to the UCL Cup final in nearby Cardiff.

VMS provided 12  round-the-clock security guards over four days as the docking area at Newport’s South Dock was transformed into an events and activity space managed by French company Hopscotch Groupe on behalf of Nissan.

The fledgling company demonstrated its capabilities by providing security around a quayside entertainment Dome, the event staff office, the quayside  and at pre and post-match functions

VMS fielded SIA accredited staff drawn from the South Coast and the West Country as they provided an effective but low-key security operation to ensure that the 500 guests enjoyed the occasion to the full. The quayside events operation was co-organized by Hopscotch.

VMS Director Kevin Hulme explained: “Our task was to be professional but melt into the background. It was a prestigious job for VMS which is still in its infancy but we demonstrated that we can take on high profile work and we’re hopeful the successful job at Newport will lead to other opportunities.”

The VMS business, which carries out port based work and other allocations, is already taking off with an increased number of security personnel now being recruited, either SIA accredited or being trained.


Cruise Operations

Port terminal operators SCH and sister company Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS) have completed a record weekend of cruise operations in Southampton with involvement in 13 operations over three days.

Stevedores SCH and valet cruise parking specialists CPS, supported by their in-house staff agency Pathfinder Personnel, had more 600 staff deployments over the period as they conducted operations involving tens of thousands of passengers.

SCH were involved in mooring, baggage handling and stores loading on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Celebrity Cruises ships over the three days, while CPS carried out a range of reception, marshalling and car parking work during calls by P&O, Princess Cruises and Cunard ships.

Two days out of three saw SCH working three ships simultaneously, while the other day saw CPS conducting a similar operation.

Biggest operations were on the Royal Caribbean ships, Navigator of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, where SCH handled the disembark and embark of some 15,000 passengers, with the ships then subsequently sailing for Scandinavia and the Mediterranean respectively. There were also two calls by the smaller Silversea Cruise ships Silver Explorer and Silver Whisper.

SCH Cruise Operations Manager Glen Gardner explained: “Through SCH and CPS, we supported the handling of 13 of the 18 cruise ship calls in Southampton over the three-day period. It was a record volume for us and demonstrated the growth in our cruise ship activity besides showing the versatility of the group in providing different types of cruise ship support.”

Following the departure of Silversea Cruises’ luxury Silver Explorer from Southampton on Saturday, she sailed for Portsmouth where SCH sister company Southern Maritime Services (SMS), handled the embark of passengers. A few days later,  Silver Whisper was handled in Liverpool and CPS underlined the company’s network of port operations by servicing passengers on the Noble Caledonia Cruises’ vessel Serenissima in the Scottish port of Oban.



SCH has handled the first of more than 50 calls by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) in Southampton this year after the initial arrival of the Independence of the Seas.

The debut season call by the 154,000 tonnes ship saw her re-positioned in Europe from Florida with some 4,000 passengers disembarking. A similar number boarded for a mini-cruise to Northern Europe.

Independence of the Seas will be joined by RCI’s Navigator of the Seas on regular calls in Southampton throughout the 2017 cruise season, operating a wide range of itineraries that include the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the Canaries, Baltic and the Norwegian fjords.

It will be the third successive year that SCH has carried out direct port handling services, including mooring, baggage and stores handling, for Royal Caribbean International (RCI), along with other RCCL brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.

SCH Cruise Operations Manager Glen Gardner explained: “Our cruise ship business is growing and we are committed to providing a smooth and seamless turnaround for ships calling in Southampton. That demands an expert team dedicated to individual customers and our tailor made service for customers like RCCL sets us apart. We have well established patterns at the port’s City Cruise Terminal that deliver the high levels of service RCCL passengers expect.”


SCH is backing Robert Smith, the Technical Manager of its motorcycle preparation centre in Sywell, to be a success on the track this summer as he makes his debut racing in the Thundersport GB club’s GP1 Freshman class.

BMW bikes are a labour of love for Robert because he also helps look after the fleet of press bikes that operate out of BMW HQ in Farnborough as well as assisting the aftersales department in the office.

Having competed in motorcycle drag racing in the past and taken part in many track days, Robert has taken on a new challenge by joining the Thundersport GB series on his BMW S1000RR 2011.

He has made an excellent start to the season coming first in his class of four races in the second round of the series at Donnington Park and repeating the performance in the next round at Snettterton.

SCH is sponsoring him by supplying tyres for the year, which will provide a significant boost to his hopes of winning the Freshmans championship.

He says: “I’ve been promising myself to start racing for ages but for one reason and another it has never been possible. With the recent loss of my father earlier this year it was a real eye opener to achieve your goals in life before time passes you by.

“SCH’s sponsorship is an absolutely huge help and will enable me to compete in all rounds possible and ensure that I can make a realistic challenge for the Championship.”



SCH has expanded its capability for handling high and heavy cargoes in the Port of Southampton with the acquisition of a dedicated reachstacker telescopic crane.

The high-performance Linde stacker .has capacity for loads up to 45ft in width and weighing up to 45 tonnes. It can be used for handling containers or out-of-gauge cargoes loaded on flat racks and the telescopic toplift spreader incorporates automatic self-levelling and hydraulic damping.

SCH, the port’s leading handler of heavy ro-ro cargoes, has seen an increasing demand for loading heavy cargoes on flat racks. Using its specialist heavy lashing expertise, the company also offers preparation of such cargoes for shipping through the port’s container terminal.

The new stacker will avoid the need to bring in dedicated mobile cranes for such work and will also enhance SCH’s capability to handle over-sized cargoes that it regularly loads on deep-sea ro-ro vessels.

SCH Operations Director Lee Davis said: “The reachstacker will provide us with a significant extra capability in preparing and loading over-sized cargoes, supporting the growing volume of our own ro-ro business and the specialist lashing  services that we offer for  third party out-of-gauge cargoes.”

The stacker has a Volvo 6 cylinder diesel engine equipped with turbo-charger and Intercooler and has an ergonomically designed fully adjustable drivers operating console. The extreme rigidity of the assembly in conjunction with carefully designed guides for the telescopic outreach movements provides for smooth, shock-free load handling in combination with low power requirements.


SCH has strengthened its operations management in the Port of Southampton with the addition of Paul Prince to its team.

Paul becomes Deputy Operations Director after joining from Associated British Ports (ABP) where he was latterly Stevedoring Manager in Southampton.

He joins SCH as the company continues to build its portfolio of ro-ro and cruise clients in the port, having handled a record volume of ro-ro units last year. SCH is already on course to handle another record volume in 2017 after a busy start in the first quarter.

Paul started his career with former Southampton stevedores Berkeley Handling, combining his early operations career with spells in the company’s accounts function. When Berkeley was sold to ABP subsidiary Amports in 2000, he continued his career in port operations,  spending 16 years focused primarily on managing the handling of both short-sea and deep-sea ro-ro cargoes.

He explained: “This is a great time to join SCH with the company on an upward curve. Things are getting busier and there’s the potential to win more business, both in ro-ro and cruise, using the combination of our core workforce and agency labour.”