The UK's largest container port is trying to engage local people
With many local people’s livelihoods dependant on the port’s continuing commercial success, and vice versa, the importance of the relationship between the two groups is imperative.
The management of the port is understandably keen to engage the townspeople in activities that support its commercial aims as well as increasing the understanding of the impact of the port and the opportunities it offers to the town. Of course, not all of these are positive, so the careful dance between highlighting the benefits of the port and dealing with the issues it brings is one which the port’s management team takes very seriously.
The Port of Felixstowe is a member of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL), which has a major interest in 49 ports across the world, so there is considerable support available to ensure the ports tessellate well with their local communities.
The Port of Felixstowe’s latest initiative is to join together the port and the people by holding a ‘Sea Port Role Play Day’ in conjunction with Suffolk Education Partnership and a number of local organisations. The underlying purpose of the day, codenamed ‘Haven Container Ports Exercise’, is to illustrate the vast employment opportunities available in and around the port, a particularly welcome idea considering unemployment in the UK has reached new highs, especially in the disenfranchised youth that are required to pay for the huge debts created by the global recession.
HWL’s chief executive officer David Gledhill is right behind the initiative, saying, “At a time when we read a lot about the difficulties facing school leavers, we hope to inspire students to gain the best skills and qualifications available and put them in good stead for their futures. We hope that the Haven Container Ports Exercise will serve to give young people in the Suffolk area a taste of the type of exciting careers and opportunities open to them in the maritime and logistics sector.”