Our History

Our History - Solent Stevedores

Solent Stevedores commenced operations in the port of Southampton in 2000 and has grown rapidly since that time.

The roots of the Company go further back with Stuart Cullen, Solent Stevedores’ owner and Chairman, and his father William Cullen, both involved in Port related bulk handling operations for many years.

Bulk handling in the Port of Southampton has generally been a low profile activity compared to the three ‘C’s’, Cruise/Containers/Cars but, in recent years, bulk trades have proved very resilient against a recession led downturn in some other trade segments.

The main impetus to the accelerated growth in our operation has been a 20 year agreement with Port owners, Associated British Ports (ABP), to expand the existing bulk terminal, comprising 107 to 109 Berths, into the redundant King George V Dry Dock.

Not only did this deal produce more space for bulk and other cargo activity but it included a multi-million capital investment programme to improve surfacing and also the purchase of two high capacity harbour mobile cranes and other specialist equipment.

With a minimum water depth of 11.7 meters, substantial quay space and adjacent under cover storage allied to close proximity to the UK’s motorway and rail networks, the latter via a railhead alongside Berth 109, the Southampton bulk terminal offers an unequalled opportunity for vessels and cargoes ranging from large to small.

Recognising these benefits, S Norton & Co a well established recycled metal company, agreed a long term deal with ABP in June 2008 and appointed Solent Stevedores as their cargo handling contractor.

Following on from this Grainfarmers (now Openfield Agriculture) entered into a term agreement to receive, store and load locally grown cereals using a refurbished cargo shed at Berth 105, to provide specialised storage.  Soon after, Solent Stevedores moved into a new office building alongside the King George V Dock on Western Avenue, providing enhanced administration and staff welfare facilities for operational staff.

In addition a new state of the art double lane weighbridge was provided nearby to supplement existing facilities at Berth 107.

To complete a busy period, Solent Stevedores embarked on another new contract loading containers and general cargo from the brand new terminal at Berth 45 in the Eastern Docks.

Outside of Southampton, Solent Stevedores secured a term deal to discharge raw sugar at the Tate & Lyle Sugars facility at Silvertown on the River Thames.

Solent Stevedores is now well placed to maintain and develop existing business whilst examining a number of new opportunities to further enhance the Company’s profile.