Cruise ship handling specialists SCH have completed a successful 2017 cruise season in the Port of Southampton following one of their busiest programmes in recent years.

The season’s totals were headed by Royal Caribbean International, whose Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas made up the bulk of calls handled by SCH, primarily at the City Cruise Terminal.

However, 2017 was also notable for the company handling Silversea Cruises in Southampton for the first time, with their exclusive vessels Silver Whisper, Silver Explorer, Silver Wind and Silver Muse, the latter making her inaugural call in Southampton in her debut season. Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse was also a regular caller, along with Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Journey . The calls translated into SCH handling some 400,000 passengers and nearly 1m. suitcases for cruise visitors transiting the port.

SCH, which provides services including baggage handling, stores loading and mooring, is already gearing up for next season’s busy itinerary in Southampton as it looks to continue growing its cruise business. Among the highlights will be the introduction to the UK market of Celebrity Cruise’s Celebrity Silhouette and the arrival of Azamara’s latest ship, Azamara Pursuit.

Operations Manager Glen Gardner explained: “With operations in Southampton and also Portsmouth and Liverpool, the key element for our cruise handling is flexibility with our business spread over several ports and several customers. That diversity gives us unrivalled experience in tailoring our operations to customer needs.”

In addition to cruise ship handling, SCH’s sister company, Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS), is responsible for handling valet car parking for hundreds of cruise ship calls in Southampton, Portsmouth and Liverpool.



Robert Smith, SCH’s Technical Manager of its motorcycle preparation centre in Sywell, has clinched the Thundersport GB club’s GP1 Freshman class championship in his debut season.

Riding his BMW S1000RR, Robert has won 22 out of 26 races this season and secured the title at Oulton Park with the final series of races still to go.

His latest success in a double header at Oulton Park saw him start the first race from the front row on the grid and emerge as class winner after the race was shortened by an incident. The second race saw him finish fifth overall and first in class to secure the crown as 2017 GP1FM Champion going into the last race of the season at Donington Park.

SCH has supported Robert by supplying tyres for the year and it has been an impressive debut season for the former motorcycle drag racer.

Robert explained: “It has been a fantastic year for the SCH Racing Team coming first or second in 25 of the 26 races and everyone involved deserves a big thank you for their help and support.”

And Robert also has plenty to thank BMW bikes for. Besides the day job, his BMW S1000RR has proved to be the pick of the machines in the Freshman championship this season.



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.”


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 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.”


Port terminal operators SCH have expanded their cruise ship business in Southampton for 2017 by securing the stevedoring and other ship support services for calls by Silversea Cruises.

The addition of the ultra luxury Silversea ships to SCH’s portfolio means the port services company will handle some 100 cruise ship calls in Southampton during this year.

Silversea Cruises will make 11 calls in Southampton during 2017, offering cruises round Britain and to Northern and Western Europe on its small, exclusive vessels Silver Whisper, Silver Explorer, Silver Muse and Silver Wind. The 40,700 tonnes Silver Muse, with accommodation for just under 600 guests, will make her debut in Southampton after being built in Italy. She is due to enter service in the Spring and will make her maiden Southampton calls in September.

SCH will provide baggage, storing and mooring services during the ships’ visits to Southampton.

Cruise Operation Manager Glen Gardner explained: “Silversea Cruises are a prestigious addition to the fleet of ships that we handle in Southampton. By tailoring our services to the individual requirements of our cruise customers, we are growing our market share of cruise business in the port, both in stevedoring and valet car parking.”

SCH’s other major cruise customers in Southampton are Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Saga Cruises and Azamara Cruises. The company also provides cruise services at various other ports throughout the UK.