THE future of Plymouth’s historic Millbay Docks has never looked brighter, and will be an intricate part of the city’s global maritime role going forward.

Plymouth City Council, Millbay Docks, and Brittany Ferries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to ensure the centuries old located Docks – will develop a sustained era of clean, green and good growth, with investment to future proof the facilities for future generations. 

Council bosses are looking at potential opportunities to grow the Docks for new freight services, especially around the city’s new FREEPORT STATUS

Associated British Ports (APB) are the owners and operators of Millbay Docks that covers over 50 acres of port estate, and is home to Brittany Ferries that celebrated earlier this year 50 years of the first ferry services between Plymouth and France on January 2, 1973.

The first crossing saw a converted Israeli tank-carrier arrive in the city to a fanfare of local publicity carrying a cargo of cauliflowers and cognac, and it was the day after Britain had joined the Common Market, the forerunner to the European Union.

The flagship of Brittany Ferries the Pont-Aven

A special anniversary celebration was held on the flagship of the Brittany Ferries the Pont-Aven in the Docks to celebrate the Plymouth and French connections with political leaders, business chiefs, tourism bosses, maritime, educational, and cultural organisations from the South West and around the Brittany regions.  

Millbay Docks originally takes its name from the medieval tidal mills which once stood across the Hoe waterfront, and the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, first built the iconic docks that became a staging post for the great ocean liners travelling to and from the USA.

The Ocean Nova cruise ship at Trinity Pier, in Millbay earlier this year.

The famous Millbay Docks has played its role in Plymouth’s history over the many centuries from the English Civil War, American and French revolutions, the Great War, World War Two, especially when the Docks suffered heavy bombing from the Plymouth Blitz. 

The Chief Executive of APB, Henrik Pedersen, said: “This year has seen the launch of our wide-ranging new sustainability strategy ‘Ready for Tomorrow’, that outlines our plan to invest £2 Billion in decarbonising our own port operations by 2040.’

“If we are going to make Net Zero a reality, it is essential there is a partnership approach, which is why we are delighted to be working with Plymouth City Council and Brittany Ferries to support greener growth for Millbay Docks and Plymouth more broadly,” he said.

There has been a renaissance in Millbay over the last 20 years – and especially if you are a long term resident witnessing the changes with new homes, commercial and retail businesses that is reconnecting the area to the heart of the town centre again.

The new Entente Cordiale is flourishing in Plymouth and the city’s Millbay Docks is supporting businesses, people, tourism, and boosting the local economy, and especially the city’s international role say maritime experts.


Meanwhile, oh…wonderful Brittany with its great food, scenery, beaches, and my favourite medieval town of Morlaix with its 19th century viaduct, charming 16th century half-timber houses, and the beautiful bay of Morlaix that I’ve visited so many times, said Kevin Kelway. 

In a special blog feature for Westward Shipping News this weekend I’ll be writing about my journey on the Amorique and Pont-Aven to France and back to Plymouth, and sharing my experience with images, video, and copy, said Kevin.