The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has today announced that Solent Gateway Limited has been chosen as the preferred bidder to manage and develop the commercial potential of the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre, one of the UK’s military ports.
The 91-hectare port facility near Southampton provides the MOD with a sea-mounting capability, and is used for sending materiel to and from overseas.
With the port not currently being used to its full capacity, this arrangement is expected to generate significant value for Defence, in terms of both the profits generated by using the spare capacity at the port, and a reduction in the cost of sea-mounting. The commercial arrangement secures the delivery of MOD’s routine and, importantly, surge requirements. The new port operator will also provide a deployable Reserve capability as part of the Army’s Total Support Force.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:
The structure of this deal is a double win for Defence and therefore the taxpayer. Maximising the commercial potential of the port will bring financial benefits for years to come, in terms of both profit share and the reduction in the cost of services to the Army. In addition, the deal will bring benefits to the local community, including safeguarding existing jobs and creating new jobs.
The MOD launched the competition in May 2014. Bids were evaluated against a range of financial, technical and commercial criteria.
A period of final engagement between MOD and Solent Gateway Limited will now take place, and the new operator will be confirmed once the contract has been signed. Plans are on track for the new operator to take over the running of Marchwood in the Autumn.