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How can I find out when big container ships scheduled to dock at Southampton

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10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 20:44:25

I've not long developed a fascination with container shipping.

I'd like to go to Rotterdam and Hamburg next year.

But in the meantime maybe I could go and see big container ships docking at Southampton. Anyone got any tips? How can I find out as far as possible in advance when certain big ships are due to dock there?

TeenTimesTwo Mon 04-Dec-17 20:48:31

Is this any good?

NineFortySixPM Mon 04-Dec-17 20:58:06

High five to the fellow container shipping geek!

I used to work in the industry and my career highlight was at a meeting with Maersk at the port of felixtowe when I got to go inside an empty container and have a tour of the port and see the cranes in action. Typing this I do realise I’m an absolute weirdo for finding it so exciting blush but the threat of pirates raiding was real and not the stuff of story books so my DS appreciates my stories at least.

I also was based in Southampton but more of the ships there were cruise liners outside the part of the dock where I was. Which are impressive but not as cool as containers in my book!

GlitterGlue Mon 04-Dec-17 20:58:08

Have you also discovered You can track ships around the world.

riskyinred Mon 04-Dec-17 20:59:08

I work in container shipping. Big lines in Southampton include MSC, NYK Line, CMA, Maersk.

Look on their websites. You want a service in from the Far East as they will be the largest 18,000+ TEU ships. They will be weekly services at the least with a proforma arrival each week so you can time your visit.

Felixstowe probably a better option if you can get there. More in and out each week.

GlitterGlue Mon 04-Dec-17 21:00:01

Also, you can pay to travel on a cargo ship. Pricey though.

Jenijena Mon 04-Dec-17 21:00:14

I live locally, there is usually a container ship or two in, although they’re harder to see than the cruise ships.

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:03:01

Thanks all. Felixstowe is actually probably easier for me... It's just that my in-laws live in Southampton so I thought we could make a family weekend trip of it (not sure how much DH and 2 year old DS would otherwise like to accompany me on my container-ship spotting!)

Nine what did you do in the industry?

risky what do you currently do?

(I'm fascinated to hear of the different types of role there are in the industry)

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:04:00

Glitter ohmyactualGOD. I haven't clicked on the link yet...but if it's what it sounds like I'm practically beside it going to break my heart when I see the price?

riskyinred Mon 04-Dec-17 21:09:41

You can also get an app for vessel finder.

I work for a major container shipping line. I’m loving the geekery on this thread. I love my job and find the industry fascinating... even ten years in.

NineFortySixPM Mon 04-Dec-17 21:09:54

I worked for a big retailer of seasonal products and I was responsible for forecasting how many units of each line we’d sell and then raising orders with factories in the Far East. The factories would given me pallet & container configurations and I’d work out how best to combine loads to bring in the right mix of products at the right time. It was so interesting, taking into account shipping times and containers being brought into port and unloaded. You don’t want to have to pay demurrage costs but equally you’ll be in trouble if your stock is late and misses the season.

GlitterGlue Mon 04-Dec-17 21:12:49

Probably. Although you could have a month long trip for the price of a week in spain in the summer (for the whole family). I'm sure the family will understand.

mrsdolittle Mon 04-Dec-17 21:32:10

No tips for ship spotting I’m afraid but I too love container ships. My Dad was a captain in the merchant navy and I spend many school holidays on ships. This was back in the 70’s and there was absolutely no Health and Safety in those days. I used to wander around the ship at will - if I fancied going down to the engine room then off I went. One of my happiest memories is going up to the Bridge at night - Dad would make me cocoa (will long life milk). We travelled from Europe over to Canada - looking back it was amazing - at the time I was probably quite bored. Dad died 10 years ago and I still get tearful when I see container ship ☹️

Teacupinastorm Mon 04-Dec-17 21:43:30

I think I’ve just found my new weird obsession!

Am a plane geek originally, but I feel I could make room for this grin

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:46:46

Oh wow, Nine that does sound really interesting.

I find the concept of christmas decorations travelling alongside toothbrushes and next to car engine components really fascinating...

And I love that pretty much everything I touch has travelled so far, over all the creatures of the deep and through rough seas..

I've got a few books on the subject:

But I don't know when I'm going to find the time to read them between looking after a toddler and work argh!

Firstaidnovice Mon 04-Dec-17 21:47:01

If you do go to Southampton, treat yourself to breakfast at the IKEA cafe. Fabulous views over the docks grin. I watched a ship being loaded with my cinnamon bun this morning in fact.

KindergartenKop Mon 04-Dec-17 21:47:10

I loved it on round the world in 80 days when Michael Palin hitched lifts on container ships.

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:47:45

Lucky you MrsDoolittle and what wonderful memories!

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:48:32

that's an excellent tip Firstaid! smile

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:50:07

Did anyone watch that 6 part (I think it was 6 parts?) documentary on the Merchant Navy on PBS America? It was on not long ago.
It's on my sky plus but - common theme here - I haven't got round to watching it yet!

10FingersOnTheFender Mon 04-Dec-17 21:51:29

I even have this excellent toy container ship:

DS is only allowed near it under my close supervision because I don't want any pieces lost!

RenterNomad Mon 04-Dec-17 23:18:31

I used to be a shipping journalist, and really bloody miss it! The size and the orderliness of stacks of containers! The deftness and strength of the handling equipment! The problem-solving.... from lowly freight forwarding agents to smugglers! Practically any piece of news could be a shipping story. smile

MaudAndOtherPoems Mon 04-Dec-17 23:24:01

My dad worked in the industry, too. When I was a child we went on one of the ships to Rotterdam and Hamburg (although, actually, thinking about it, that might have been pre-containerisation).

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Mon 04-Dec-17 23:29:30

WOW! Who knew this was a thing? (You lot obviously! grin) I’m now feeling like I’m missing out on the fascinating world of shipping containers. I’m not in England. Does anyone know if Belfast has anything to offer on the big ship front?

TressiliansStone Mon 04-Dec-17 23:32:34

Oh I so want to travel by sea! Personal circumstances make it unlikely any more, so I'm going to live vicariously by following your thread.grin

I have fond childhood memories of seeing relatives off on the great passenger liners from Southampton, us waving madly from the viewing balcony at some unidentified dot at the ship railings. As those ships retired, my family carried on travelling by cargo ship, whenever their latest relocation made it economic vs flying.

<nostalgic sigh> I'll do it some day. I will.

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