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Record Number of Transit Calls at Harwich International Port
26th August 2008

Harwich International Port is today [26th August 2008] celebrating a record number of seven transit calls in 2008, with the arrival of the 2,200-berth 'MSC Opera'.

This will be MSC Cruises’ second call at Harwich International Port, following the successful call of the 'MSC Lirica' last year. 1,869 passengers will be in transit on the ship, with a further 146 embarking at Harwich.

Passengers on the cruise will be able to enjoy the delights of Harwich and surrounding areas during their stopover. Tours available are to Hedingham Castle, Lavenham, Cambridge, Flatford Mill and Colchester, ‘Capital of Roman Britain’.

Additionally, the Harwich Society will be offering a tour of historic Harwich Town, including the Redoubt Fort and Electric Palace.

Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, which owns Harwich International Port, said:

"We are pleased to welcome the prestigious 'MSC Opera' to Harwich International Port. We have seen a record number of transit calls through Harwich this year, and we are keen to encourage stopovers such as this to the Port, as they enable us to showcase the tremendous range of local attractions on offer, both within Harwich itself, and in nearby ‘Constable country’.

“The excellent rail connections from Harwich International Port mean that passengers are also able to take advantage of the popular destinations of London and Cambridge.”

Harwich International Port has been working closely with Haven Cruise and East of England Tourism over the past four years to promote Harwich as a transit port, and together they have developed a number of exciting excursions within close proximity of the Port.

Keith Brown, Chief Executive of East of England Tourism, said:

“This latest call by MSC Cruises reflects both the excellent port facilities and the wide range of unique leisure options across the East of England available within a comfortable transfer time from Harwich. These range from traditional countryside towns to vibrant cities, and offer something for every cruise passenger.”

The 251-metre-long 'MSC Opera' will be arriving from Copenhagen, and is on an 11-night Mediterranean cruise, ending in Venice. The ship was built in 2004, and offers passengers every conceivable comfort, with roomy areas and Art Deco influences. The 856 cabins, many with private balconies, are large, airy and spacious.

Harwich International Port is set to welcome a total of 59 cruise calls during the 2008 season, including a number of significant new customers.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

For further information, or a PHOTOGRAPH, please contact Rachael Jackson, Public Relations Manager, on Tel. No: +44 (0)1394 604167, Fax No: +44 (0)1394 604943 or E-mail: jacksonr@hpuk.co.uk www.harwich.co.uk

1) Harwich International Port (HWH) is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose freight and passenger ports with excellent road and rail links to the Midlands, London and the South East. It is ideally located for North Sea freight and passenger traffic to and from Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, offering first class ro-ro, ferry, container and bulk operations.

2) HWH is a member of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). HPH is the world's leading port investor, developer and operator with interests in a total of 47 ports, spanning 24 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. HPH also owns a number of transportation-related service companies.

3) The majority of cruise calls at Harwich International Port are ‘turnaround’ calls, where passengers embark and disembark at the Essex port, but may not get the opportunity to visit local attractions. ‘Transit’ calls are included as part of the ship’s cruise itinerary, and offer greater opportunities to involve local attractions.