The Port of Southampton is a passenger and cargo port in the central part of the south coast of England. The modern era in the history of the Port of Southampton began when the first dock was inaugurated in 1843. The port has been owned and operated by Associated British Ports since 1982, and is the busiest cruise terminal and second largest container port in the UK.
The port is ten miles inland, between the confluence of the rivers Test and Itchen and the head of the mile-wide drowned valley known as Southampton Water. The mouth of the inlet is protected from the effects of foul weather by the mass of the Isle of Wight, which gives the port a sheltered location. Additional advantages include a densely populated hinterland and close proximity to London, and excellent rail and road links to the rest of Britain which bypass the congestion of London.