Westward Shipping News will be sharing a spotlight on Plymouth’s Waterfront business leaders and owners, who will be giving their views, perspectives, and insights on the future of Britain’s Ocean City.

In the first of the series, our spotlight is on Adrian Buss, Operations Manager-PFSO-Millbay Docks/Plymouth,  Associated British Ports (ABP).


Adrian was born at the former Green Bank Hospital in Plymouth and was educated at the Saltash Community School with an Environmental Science BsC in Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resource Management.

He’s been the Operations Manager at ABP Millbay Docks in Plymouth for nearly 3 years, and before that, a Manager at the Environment Agency. 

Adrian led the training and exercise programme for the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) partners for the very successful G7 Summit in Cornwall back in 2021. 

42 LRFs are established in England and Wales and provide a structure to help agencies plan and prepare for major incidents and meet their statutory duties under the law.  

Outside of work Adrian enjoys supporting young people as an Adult Leader with the Sea Cadets at Torpoint where learning, teamwork, self-confidence, commitment, and self-discipline through activities and adventures are the orders of the day. 


How does your day begin?

First thing in the morning, I review the sailings from the port, catch up on actions, and engage with our partners and customers throughout the day.

As a leading city businessman, what does it mean to be an effective leader in the changing world of the maritime industry? 

I will echo the word resilience. The future of the maritime sector in Plymouth is very exciting, especially our investment plans in Millbay Docks.

Picture credit: ABP

With some exciting new key investments being made in ABP Millbay Docks, how do you see the future renaissance of the city’s waterfront? 

We recently announced the first phase of works for the transformation of the docks. This includes the reconstruction of the West Wharf in order to help secure the long-term future of the city’s Ferry and Cruise Terminal.

With a reinforced West Wharf we can increase the existing load capacity, which will help to strengthen our freight capabilities, as well as support the installation of a new state-of-the-art Passenger Boarding Bridge for Brittany Ferries passengers and cruise liner visits to Plymouth.

The Ocean Nova at Trinity Pier

What are the key services that Millbay provides, and how do you see the future of commercial freight, cruise visitors, green shipping, and Brittany Ferries?

Millbay Docks has been a key hub for Brittany Ferries for over 40 years. Their operations at the port comprise of daily services to France, and weekly services to Northern Spain, for both freight cargoes and around 430,000 passengers per year. The Docks also has facilities to handle many different cargoes, amounting to an annual trade value of over £470 million.

As well as the investment in the West Wharf already mentioned, ABP is pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding  with Plymouth City Council and Brittany Ferries that commits all partners to working together to ensure the Docks enjoy a sustained era of clean, green and good growth. 

The flagship of Brittany Ferries the MV Pont-Aven on its way into Millbay Docks

What does the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport mean for the city and ABP?

The works we are undertaking at Millbay Docks is the first funded project that is underway for Plymouth and South Devon Freeport, and is made possible through the £1.3 million Seed Capital Funding from government, alongside further significant investment by ABP. This will not only enhance our ferry terminal – a key hub for Brittany Ferries – but also strengthen our freight capabilities, which will mean improved connectivity for businesses operating in and around the city. 

If you had any business advice, what would it be? 

Always be open to opportunities in business.

What do you most love about Plymouth? 

Plymouth is a proud, vibrant waterfront city, and the sea will always be its gateway to the world.