Spotlight On: Felixstowe
As one of the UK's largest port's, Felixstowe is at the heart of trade for Great Britain. It is also home to the Customs Support headquarters for the UK and Ireland, with over 120 customs declarants processing import and export clearances in Felixstowe every single day.
But how much does Britain’s premier port do, and why was it chosen to be the Customs Support HQ for the UK and Ireland? Find out in this article.
The Port of Felixstowe
The Port of Felixstowe manages approximately 48% of all sea freight imports for the UK, processing:
- More than 4,000,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).
- Approximately 2,000 vessel calls.
- Equipment for 17 shipping lines.
- 33 liner schedules to and from over 700 other ports.
Inland, the easterly Port of Felixstowe is connected to the west of England by the A14. This 127-mile (204.5km) road has major junctions that lead to London, the south of England, the north of England, Scotland, and other major areas in the UK.
Additionally, the Port of Felixstowe is the largest rail freight terminal in the UK, processing approximately 75 trains every day. Over 1,000,000 containers are transported by rail freight from Felixstowe, accounting for 25% of total import traffic and 50% of all containers bound for the north of England. This saves over 100,000,000 miles of HGV movement every year, and is earmarked for continued investment as the UK moves towards net-zero.
The history of Felixstowe and the port.
As the site of a castle, a fort, and other outposts before becoming a town, Felixstowe’s founding date could be attributed to a few events:
- The oldest record is Walton Castle, which is presumed to have been built in the third century AD. It was used throughout the Middle Ages, but lost to coastal erosion in the 18th century.
- Landguard Fort began construction in 1540 as part of Henry VIII’s coastal defence plan, and was used by the forces to defend against invasion attempts by the Dutch and the French.
- In 1810, a Martello tower was built to defend against the French during the Napoleonic wars, and it is believed the parish of Felixstowe started around this time.
- An 1871 census shows a population of 673 in the Felixstowe Parish.
The Port of Felixstowe was opened in 1875 by Colonel George Tomline as “The Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company”. Following two world wars, it was chosen for development by the UK in 1966 due to its proximity to European trade lanes. In 1967, the Landguard Container Terminal was opened as the first purpose-built container terminal in the UK.
Since then, the Walton, Dooley, Trinity, and Berth 8&9 terminals have been built, allowing the Port of Felixstowe to process both deep sea vessels and enormous volumes of cargo.
As Britain’s premier port, the location has naturally become a pool of talent for the logistics and customs clearance sector. One company of specialised declarants, UK Customs Solutions, was the first major acquisition of Customs Support in the UK, and this site became our HQ for the area.
Did you know?
- Felixstowe golf club is one of the oldest in England, having been founded in 1880.
- The pier, opened in 1905, used to be one of the longest in the country, at 2640’ (804m). It was partly demolished during the second world war to prevent Germans from landing on it.
- During the second world war, false rumours were spread that Felixstowe was home to the UK’s radar technology, the first in the world. This was to protect Bawdsey Radar, which was four miles up the coast but less defended.
Do you need customs clearance in Felixstowe or the UK?
Customs Support provide clearance services for every major sea and airport in the UK and Ireland. Although the Port of Felixstowe is currently in hot water from strike action, we are here to assist you if your goods are diverted. Contact us for more information.