SCH has completed a successful summer season for cruise ship services with some 150 ships handled around the UK.

The biggest number of ships was handled in Southampton were Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises provided the mainstay of the eight-month season, with RCI’s Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas operating a full programme of cruises throughout Northern Europe.

SCH’s expertise in baggage and stores handling also helped to ensure that Liverpool maintained its role as the northern hub of UK cruising with more than 50 turnaround and day calls. Further winter calls are scheduled for Fred Olsen Line’s Black Watch ship.

Portsmouth, where SCH’s sister company Southern Maritime Services provides exclusive cruise ship services, hosted more than 40 turnaround and calling cruise ship calls, while the programme will also continue into the winter with Saga Cruises operating its vessel Saga Pearl II from the port.

SCH Director Lee Davis commented: “This summer’s operations have again demonstrated our role as the UK’s most extensive provider of cruise ship services, with the SCH parent group also responsible for valet parking tens of thousands of passenger cars.”


Port general managers from as far afield as Australia, South America, the US, Canada and Europe have visited SCH in Southampton to learn about the company’s operations.

The group of eight were all members of the worldwide General Stevedoring Council taking part in a European General Managers course. They spent three days in the port of Southampton being hosted by SCH.

Presentations were made to the group outlining SCH’s development and current operations before they were given a tour of the port where they took a closer look at the company’s activities, including receiving and handling ro-ro cargoes. SCH is Southampton’s leading handler of deep-sea ro-ro cargoes.

The GSC members then divided into teams and undertook a project to review some of the cargo handling processes.  Ultimately they had to prepare a presentation to an SCH management board comprising directors Richard Burgess and Lee Davis, along with Central Receiving Supervisor Lee Couzens, giving their recommendations to improve, simplify or increase resilience in the processes.

The GSC team returned to Copenhagen where they will complete their course.

SCH Director Richard Burgess explained: “Coming from ports worldwide and often with a focus on certain trades and ways of handling cargoes, it was a valuable experience for the group to visit Southampton where there is a wide range of trade sectors. We were able to give them an interesting insight into the way the port works and the specific operations of SCH.

“For us, it was also useful to get their views on the way we work and overall the visit was a rewarding exercise for both parties.”

Frans Baud, GSC mentor for the visit, added: “The group enjoyed a splendid visit and were extremely impressed by the operations at the Port of Southampton and the important role played by SCH in their efficiency. We hope SCH was also able to benefit from the team’s ideas for improving the operation of cargo movements.”

SCH’s Cruise Manager Paulo Oliveira was also part of the GSC course but as part of another group that visited other ports in  Northern and Southern Europe.



SCH and sister company Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS) have contributed to Southampton being named as best UK port in the British Cruise Awards 2018.

It is the second year in a row that Southampton has been named best port after 80,000 readers of the magazine Cruise International voted.

Cruise Services

SCH, through its stevedoring services, and CPS, which provides valet parking, make a significant contribution to the cruise ship service offering provided in Southampton, which is Northern Europe’s busiest cruise port.

The award was sponsored by Marello Cruises and was presented by their managing director, Chris Hackney at a ceremony held at the House of Lords.

Several cruise lines under the Carnival brand, which use CPS to provide valet parking services for passengers transiting Southampton, also picked up accolades at the awards.

SCH Director Lee Davis commented: “The awards demonstrated again Southampton’s leading role in UK cruise operations and we are delighted to play our part in contributing to this success.”


SCH pulled out all the stops to ensure that the visit to Southampton of Azamara Club Cruises’ new ship for her official christening ceremony was a success.

Having handled the Azamara Pursuit on two previous visits to Southampton earlier this summer, SCH was on hand to ensure a smooth disembark for hundreds of passengers as they left the ship after a  voyage to Iceland via ports in the UK and Ireland.

Then came the preparations for a spectacular christening ceremony in Southampton before the ship, which can accommodate over 700, made a short Channel cruise for specially invited guests.

Once Azamara Pursuit returned to port, SCH swung into action to get the ship ready for her final UK-based voyage of the season with baggage and stores needing to be loaded before she sailed  from Southampton for a cruise to the Iberian Peninsula.

With a hectic three days of moves within the port and a short cruise before the wide range of preparations needed for her departure for Western Europe, it was a case of three days of intense activity for the SCH teams.

Cruise Operations Manager Paulo Oliveira explained: “It was a demanding series of operations but a great opportunity for Azamara to highlight the qualities of their new ship and we were delighted to support Azamara Pursuit for this special call in Southampton .”


Selling delicious cupcakes around the Port of Southampton was just the recipe for staff at SCH and sister company Pathfinder Personnel when they raised nearly £200 for national Alzheimer’s cupcake day.

Organisers gave hundreds of workers the chance to sample the decorated delights as they sold the home made cakes around the various ro-ro and cruise ship berths of the port.

The response was fantastic with port workers digging deep to enjoy the tasty cakes and at the same time contribute to a truly worthwhile cause. Organisers were delighted with the outcome, the latest in a series of charity fund-raising initiatives by SCH and Pathfinder.


SCH has kicked off its 2018 cruise season in Southampton by supporting the first call in the UK by Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Silhouette.

The 2,886-passenger ship was launched in 2011 as the fourth of Celebrity Cruises’ five Solstice-class ships and boasts a number of new features compared to its sister ship Celebrity Eclipse, which SCH supported throughout her Southampton season last year.

Celebrity Eclipse was based in the UK for eight years and proved hugely popular, winning numerous best ship awards. Celebrity Silhouette will make more than a dozen calls in Southampton, offering a mix of seven- to 14-night Norwegian fjords, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean, Canaries and Azores, and Iceland and Ireland sailings until October.

Wide Range of SCH Cruise Services

SCH will supply a wide range of services, including mooring, baggage handling and stevedoring. The company will offer a similar rage of services to Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas, which will also use Southampton as their base UK ports this year, and Azamara Club Cruises.

Director Lee Davis commented: “We are delighted to add Celebrity Silhouette to the fleet of cruise ships that we handle and we are committed to ensuring that 2018 is a successful season for all our cruise customers calling in Southampton.”



Cruise ship handling specialists SCH and sister company Southern Maritime Services (SMS) are scheduled to handle nearly 200 calls into the UK during 2018, underlining the companies’ position as the most extensive provider of cruise services in the UK.

The calls will be spread between Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth with customers including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Fred Olsen Lines, Saga Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Cruise and Maritime Voyages and Noble Caledonia. SCH will handle calls in Southampton and Liverpool, while SMS is the exclusive provider of cruise ship services in Portsmouth, where the company will handle Saga Cruises regularly for the first time.

Cruise and Passenger Services

Both SCH and SMS are part of the Independent Port Handing Group (IPH), which also includes Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS) and security specialists Viper Maritime Security (VMS). CPS carries out valet car parking services in Southampton, Liverpool, Oban and Portsmouth, with Carnival UK the major customer in Southampton.

The most prestigious cruise celebrations to be supported by SCH in Southampton during 2018 are the re-launch of RCI’s Independence of the Seas, following a major refit that will see additional cabins and other exciting features added, and the naming and inaugural call in August of Azamara’s new ship Azamara Pursuit, formerly P&O’s Adonia.

IPH Director Lee Davis explained: “2018 promises to be another busy and successful year for the IPH Group’s cruise operations around the UK.”



SCH has supported a four-day discharge operation to unload sections of two new super post-Panamax gantry cranes at the container facilities of Southampton’s DP World.

The team assisted with hooking up the crane parts as they were off-loaded from the vessel Symphony Sky at 207 berth. Ship’s agents were GP Shipping.

When fully assembled, the new cranes will be taller and wider than the existing cranes on the quay. At their highest point, they will stand at 138 metres (459 foot) tall – as tall as the London Eye – and they will enhance DP World’s ability to handle the latest mega-container ships


Leading roll-on/roll-off handler SCH saw its volume of cargo handled through the port of Southampton grow by over 25 per cent last year.

Having seen its ro-ro import and export volumes smash through the 200,000 units barrier in 2016, the stevedore and terminal management specialists experienced further significant growth last year as units climbed to more than 280,000.

By far the biggest contributor was cars with volumes increasing by more than 4,000 a month. Heavy ro-ro cargoes also grew with totals rising by an average of over 300 a month. Some 80 per cent of cars handled were for export.

SCH, which handles import and export trades serving regions including Europe, the Middle East, Far East and North America, benefited from increasing its market share of ro-ro cargoes handled through Southampton.

Most notably, this saw the company win the business of Euro Marine Logistics (EML), a joint venture project between Mitsui OSK Linesand Hoegh Autoliners. The line carries all Renault vehicles arriving in Southampton from France and Spain.

Deep-sea  ro-ro lines handled by SCH include Hoegh Autoliners, NYK Line, Glovis and EUKOR Car Carriers.

SCH Director Lee Davis explained: “Southampton has invested heavily to consolidate its leading role in the UK for handling new vehicles. We have benefited from this commitment and, together with our individual service levels and expertise, this has enabled us to grow our market share and increase our overall volumes.”

Ro-Ro Volumes


Christmas Jumper

A group of SCH employees entered into the Christmas spirit by supporting Save the Children’s Christmas jumper day. Adding to the festive frolics, they contributed to a Christmas draw which raised a healthy sum in support of the Appeal. A Merry Xmas to all from everyone at SCH!