P&O – officially the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company – is believed to be the world’s longest-running ferry service having started its operations in 1837.
Originally a joint shipping operation between a London ship broker and a Shetland sailor, the business is now responsible for drawing revenues of around £3 billion per year from their ferry, port and logistic services and is regarded as an industry leader.
Following a 2006 takeover, P&O is now run as a subsidiary of Dubai Ports World (also known as DP World) and continues to aggressively target new markets – with recent moves into the real estate industry adding to their already considerable portfolio.
Their main operations remain their provision of ferries for freight and passenger purposes, and they run a number of different brands that target different demographics – these are; P&O Ferries (the company’s main services between the UK and continental Europe), P&O Portsmouth (a specialist branch that operates out of Portsmouth, England), P&O Irish Sea (now merged with their main company, but previously responsible for all routes run from Northern Ireland and Eire), and P&O Stena Line (a joint project with rival ferry company Stena Line).
Currently, P&O are responsible for the running of two ports – one that mainly deals with containers near Southampton, and another on the North of the river Thames.