Port Information


Harwich International Port Limited
Parkeston, Harwich, Essex,
CO12 4SR, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1255 242000
Fax: +44 (0)1255 241400


1883: Parkeston Quay officially opened by Charles H. Parkes, Chairman of the
Great Eastern Railway Company.

1903: Service between Parkeston Quay and the Hook of Holland began.

1939: Parkeston Quay was requisitioned by the Admiralty for naval purposes until.

1946: The quay suffered extensive damage in air raids during the war.

1964: The Carless refinery opened next to the port.

1967: "MS Winston Churchill" was introduced to Harwich – Esbjerg route.

1968: Sisterships "Koningin Emma" and "Prinses Beatrix" served the Harwich Hook of Holland route from the end of the Second World War until this year, when they were finally scrapped. This same year saw the route convert to a freight/passenger service with the introduction of the "Koningin Juliana".

1974: The 130-metre ro-ro ship "St Edmund" came into service and remained on the Hook route until being requisitioned by the UK Ministry of Defence in 1982 during the Falklands conflict.

1978: After a naming ceremony in London, "MS Dana Anglia" entered service on Esbjerg route.

1983: The "St Nicholas", the largest superferry on the North Sea at that time, commenced service from Harwich.

1986: Passengers through the port exceeded 2 million for the first time this year.

1987: The "Koningin Beatrix", with capacity for up to 2,100 passengers, joined the Hook route.

1989: Last call of the MS Braemar and end of the summer service to Kristiansand, Norway, which had been operated by Fred Olsen Lines since 1967.

1992: Construction of No.2 linkspan was completed, in readiness for vessels of
200 metres loa.

1994: The number of trade vehicles moving through the port peaked at nearly 270,000 in this year.

1997: A £12 million development was completed to accommodate the "Stena
Discovery" fast ferry.

1998: Harwich International Port became part of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd.

1999: A day to remember – 29 August saw the berthing of three cruise ships

2002: Stena launched a new freight route to Rotterdam in September, providing
three crossings per day and coinciding with the opening of a new port
access road and freight entrance.

2002: A fond farewell to the last of the "white ships" serving Harwich, as the "Dana Anglia" and "Admiral of Scandinavia" were replaced by modern ro-pax vessels


Set in the best natural haven on England’s east coast, Harwich has played a vital role in Britain’s maritime history for centuries.

Always accessible, whatever the tide or weather, Harwich Haven was much valued in the 19th century by the masters of sailing ships seeking shelter – and it has remained one of the UK’s most important deep-water harbours.

Harwich’s role as a packet station for the carriage of passengers and mail to the Netherlands dates back at least to the 17th century. But it was a bold decision by the Great Eastern Railway Company in the second half of the 19th century that was to transform the port and set the foundations for what is today Harwich International Port, a world-class deep-water facility.

The railway company, anxious to expand its operations, decided to create an entirely new port based on the reclaimed marshland of Ray Island. Parkeston Quay was opened in 1883 and quickly became Britain’s most important passenger port, linking England with Belgium and the Netherlands.

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Harwich International Port has retained its close ties with Europe, with ro-ro ferry links for both passengers and freight to ports in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia.

But it has also diversified and today’s activities encompasses liquid and dry bulks, general cargo, containers and a thriving cruise business.

In 1998, Harwich International Port was acquired by Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd. The acquisition marked a new chapter in the port’s history, as part of the Hutchison Port Holdings Group (HPH), the world’s largest private port owner and operator.

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