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SCH (Southampton Cargo Handling)

SCH (Southampton Cargo Handling)

SCH is the UK’s most extensive provider of cruise ship services with operations centred on ports including Southampton and Liverpool, while sister company Southern Maritime Services (SMS) provides services in Portsmouth International Port (PIP). SCH supplies mooring, baggage handling and stores loading and is part of the Independent Ports Handling (IPH) group, which also includes Cruise and Passenger Services (CPS). CPS carries out valet car parking services in Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth for over 90,000 cruise passengers, with Carnival UK the major customer in Southampton. CPS’ established service includes ease of booking via a call centre or website, personal meet and greets, car moving service from terminal to secure car park, safeguarding the vehicle during the passengers’ cruise and then return of the vehicle when passengers arrive back. SCH handled around 200 turnaround calls into the UK during pre-pandemic 2019,  with customers including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Saga Cruises and Fred Olsen Line. 


  1. Port terminal management

  2. stevedoring, baggage handling

  3. mooring

  4. SCH HANDLES DEBUT UK CALL OF NEWBUILD CELEBRITY APEX Celebrity Cruises’ impressive new passenger ship Celebrity Apex has been added to the fleet of cruise vessels handled by SCH after she made her maiden call in Southampton. The second of the Edge-Class ships stopped off in Southampton for two days en route from her builders, Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France, to Fort Lauderdale. As part of her brief stop in Southampton, SCH moored and untied the ship, while also loading around 70 tonnes of stores delivered by road transport to the quayside for her transatlantic voyage. SCH also helped to add some finishing touches to the ship by loading various items of artwork on board. Celebrity Apex has capacity for around 3,000 passengers and, following the delays to her sailing schedule caused by the pandemic, is on schedule to start her inaugural cruising season sailing out of Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean in November. Her short stay in Southampton follows a similar itinerary for sister ship Celebrity Edge, which SCH also supported during her debut UK call to Southampton in 2018. Celebrity Apex is due to spend summer 2021 based in the Mediterranean, with Celebrity Cruises planning to home port the Celebrity Silhouette in Southampton next summer. SCH Cruise Manager Paulo Oliveira said: ”Normally we would have been looking at a full passenger operation for Celebrity Apex’s first call in the port. However, we were still delighted that she visited the UK and we were able to support her first transatlantic crossing as she looks to embark her first fare paying passengers for the forthcoming Caribbean season.”

  5. SCH OVERCOMES HEAVY WEATHER TO COMPLETE LATEST ALONGSIDE TASK ON EXPLORER OF THE SEAS SCH has supported the ships of major cruise customer Royal Caribbean Cruise Line throughout the pandemic and the latest operation was a major exercise in discharge operations when the Explorer of the Seas called into Southampton. Using two mobile cranes in challenging weather conditions, SCH personnel took 1700 rolls of carpet from the Voyager Class ship after moving them from inside the ship to two deck levels. Like several ships of the RCCL fleet, Explorer of the Seas has spent much of the past few months moored off the South Coast, occasionally calling into port to load supplies. RCCL has also used the downtime to carry out maintenance work on its vessels and the carpet is set to be fitted when the ship gets closer to a return to service. In the meantime, SCH off-loaded the flooring and placed it on a fleet of lorries for onward haulage to warehouse facilities in Europe. Cruise Manager Paulo Oliveira explained: “Cruise lines and ships’ crews have made good use of this time and we have fully supported them in their port calls in Southampton and Portsmouth. Heavy rain and winds added to the complexity of the operation on the Explorer of the Seas but we managed to complete the discharge of all the carpet rolls over a two-day weekend period.”

  6. SMS BUILDS ON ITS ROPE HANDLING WORK AT PORTSMOUTH PORT Southern Maritime Services (SMS) has secured an agreement to provide support for rope handling services at Portsmouth International Port (PIP). SMS staff will provide back-up to PIP’s own specialist teams who moor and untie ferries and cruise ships arriving at the docks. SMS already provides similar support services to terminal manager Portico, handling the ropes for ships at the adjacent cargo berths in Portsmouth port. The PIP work builds on SMS’ main activity in Portsmouth, which involves providing baggage handling and storing services for the growing numbers of cruise ships calling in the port. The current contract has recently been extended until 2021. SMS Director Kevin Hulme explained: “We are delighted to expand our work supporting activities at Portsmouth port. The rope handling at PIP will take on additional significance as the volume of cruise ships calling in the port increases.” Ian Diaper, PIP Head of Operations, said: “Our ambitions to grow Portsmouth’s cruise offer means we need the appropriate skills in place to help manage the additional calls. With SMS in place to provide this support, it means we can deliver a reliable and efficient service for our customers. “This builds on the current excellent service SMS has provided the port over the years and we look forward to working with them as the business expands.”



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