September has ended with SCH experiencing one of its busiest ro-ro weeks of the year by handling more than 8,000 cars and heavy wheeled units.

The hectic end to the month saw 12 ships handled during the final full week of September, coming on the back of the traditionally quieter August period.

Southampton’s Leading Handler of Deep-sea Ro-Ro

Nearly 6,000 of the ro-ro units were for export with destinations including the US, Middle East and Far East, while the biggest import shipment saw more than 750 Renault vehicles arrive from Europe. SCH is the port of Southampton’s leading handler of deep-sea ro-ro cargoes

The company, which handled a total of 220,000 ro-ro units in 2017, is now looking forward to a strong end to the year as volumes in the final few months continue to climb.

Director Lee Davis explained: “We’re gearing up for another busy month in October with our volumes during the current period probably as high as they have been at any time during the year.”


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.



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.”



SCH has handled the first of more than 50 cruise ship calls due in the port of Liverpool this year with the turnaround operation of Fred Olsen Line’s Black Watch.

The arrival of the first cruise visitor of 2018 saw a small number of passengers disembark Black Watch before 700 passengers were welcomed on board for an eight-night voyage to the Norwegian fjords.

SCH provided full mooring, baggage, stevedoring and car parking arrangements, the latter through its subsidiary Cruise and Passenger Services. This year, a new facility has been secured and adapted for valet parking services, which ensure peace of mind for passengers while they enjoy their cruise.

Black Watch will make 13 turnaround calls in Liverpool this season in using  the port as its UK hub of operations. SCH will also be handling turnaround calls by Cruise and Maritime Voyages, along with a host of transit calls by lines including Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Regent Cruise s and Holland America Line.

SCH Director Kevin Hulme explained: “We have  a well trained and experienced workforce in Liverpool who can provide a full service for ships calling in the port and we are committed to providing a first class operation that will continue to support Liverpool’s growth as a centre for cruise business.”


SCH Motor

SCH Motoprep Technical Manager and Rob Smith made a promising start to this year’s motorcycle race season by securing three top five class finishes at Donnington in the first meeting of the season.

Rob was making his debut in the Thundersport GB club GP1 sportsman class after winning the Freshman class last season and his challenge this season will be boosted by riding an updated BMW S1000RR.

Having started 26th out of 40 on the grid after a frustrating qualifying session, Rob worked his way through the field in the first of the weekend’s  three races to finish third in his class and 18th overall, with his lap times ensuring a higher starting place on the grid for the second race.

Rob, who is supported by SCH in his racing endeavours, overcame a disappointing start to bag a fifth place in the second race and, after getting off to a better start in race three, had a great battle with Callum O’Shea for a few laps to eventually hold him off, securing a finish fourth in class and 17th overall.

It was a successful first outing on the SCH Motoprep BMW S1000RR and Rob is now looking forward to the next round at Oulton Park on April 21-22.


SCH MotoPrep, the BMW car and motorcycle technical preparation arm of the group, has taken on its first apprentice technicians.

Alex Harfield (19) and Miles Budd (18) have joined the company on a three-year apprenticeship that will eventually see them qualify as ATA (Automotive Technical Accreditation) graded technicians.

Alex, from Crowthorne, will spend his three years working between SCH’s Farnborough motorcycle workshop  and a BMW motorcycle retailer in Guildford, along with studying at BMW’s training academy near Reading. Miles, who hails from near Northampton, will also spend part of his time at the academy, between working at SCH’s motorcycle PDI centre at Sywell.

During that time, they will become fully versed in all technical aspects of BMW motorcycles, from fault diagnosis to major overhauls, culminating in their graduation with full automotive technical accreditation.

SCH MotoPrep Technical Manager Rob Smith explained: “We looked upon this as an opportunity to invest in the industry’s future skills base while underlining our commitment to the BMW training programme.”

Alex and Miles emerged from a rigorous selection process to win their places on the SCH MotoPrep apprentice scheme.

Alex explained: “This is a great opportunity to embark on what I am sure will be a rewarding career,” while Miles added: “I’m really grateful to SCH for giving me the chance to become a qualified technician and part of the famous BMW brand.”

Photo shows: (l to r) SCH Motoprep General Manager Chris Lee, Miles Budd, Alex Smith and SCH Motoprep Technical Manager Rob Smith


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