South Coast Lorry Drivers Angry

Hauliers today reacted angrily to reported remarks by cruise company chief Lord Sterling that his passengers should not have to mix with lorry drivers "who suffer from BO and wear shorts".

Lord Sterling has expressed concern that passengers on his Swan Hellenic cruise ships might have to share a new £16.5 million terminal at Portsmouth with ferry travellers.

Lord Sterling, a former boss of shipping company P&O, was reported as saying: "We want to create a certain atmosphere, a five-star setting, as soon as people arrive to travel.

"I am concerned our customers, who are expecting that, will instead be asked to mix with lorry drivers, who in the summer suffer from BO, wear shorts and no shirt and in some cases won't have shaved for days."

He went on: "There will also be young people, looking to travel as cheaply as possible as foot passengers on services to Bilbao (in Spain), lolling around."

Reacting to the comments today, Alain Tremorin a director of ACP Freight Services Ltd in Portsmouth, said: "Cruise passengers can be unshaven or wear shorts as well.

"I've never seen anyone on a ferry with their shirt off. People other than lorry drivers can suffer body odour."

Frank Dixie, managing director haulage firm PSP in Fareham, Hants, told the online Daily Mail: "Lord Sterling is extremely arrogant. It's not particularly clever to come out with a comment like that in such a prestigious port.

"It seems he wants to install a rigid class structure in a major port and I'd hope his chances of success were very small indeed. My drivers work very hard, and to reward hard-working people with comments like this is pathetic. He's clearly not in touch with the working man."

The port of Portsmouth said it hoped there would be little, if any, crossover between passengers as ferries and cruise ships left at different times.

A spokeswoman for All Leisure Holidays, the parent company of Swan Hellenic, said:  "Portsmouth is a busy maritime gateway for many sea-going travellers, be they on ferries, conventional cargo ships or cruise ships. Each passenger type has very different travel requirements.

"Ferry travellers expect to embark and disembark as quickly as possible, whereas cruise passengers can arrive up to three hours before boarding and so expect a completely different kind of experience.

"For that very reason, we are delighted that Portsmouth is offering a dedicated cruise area for passengers to enjoy for those wishing to arrive in a leisurely manner, early at the port."

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