The Port of Southampton is a major passenger and Cargo port located in the central part of the south coast of England. It benefits from a sheltered location, unique "double tides", close proximity to the motorway network and good rail links. Owned and operated by Associated British Ports since 1982, the port is the busiest cruise terminal and second largest container port in the UK.
The port is located ten miles (16 km) inland, between the confluence of the rivers Test and Itchen and the head of the mile wide inlet (technically a ria or 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 an advantageous sheltered location. Additional advantages include a densely populated hinterland and close proximity to London, with excellent rail and road links to the rest of Britain via the M3 and the South West Main Line.