UK ports will prove “resilient and adaptable”

UK ports will prove their resiliency when the country leaves the European Union, no matter which deals are struck, the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) chief executive has predicted.

Speaking on a panel discussion at the UK Ports Conference 2018, Tim Morris gave his Brexit predictions: “It won’t be frictionless; some sort of victory will be declared before we hit a cliff edge; and UK ports and logistics will make it work – we are very adaptable and resilient.”

However, he added, that any successes might be despite rather than because of the actions of UK politicians.

Richard Christian, head of policy and communications at the Port of Dover – a port that is expected to be particularly impacted by Brexit changes, urged strategies to consider the bigger, cross-channel picture.

“One of the key points for us is that we are a closed ports system; if one has a problem on the other side of the channel, the others catch a cold,” he said. “Our message is if UK government can guarantee free flow on our side, we have to make sure that we have the right solution on the other side of the Channel as well.

Tim Reardon, policy director at the UK Chamber of Shipping, agreed that the challenge is not just for port processes; it’s on the broader supply chain. “We are just one small element in the overall supply chain,” he said.

UKMPG has published a three-point plan on how UK ports might take advantage of Brexit. It includes discussion of a long-term strategy capitalising on increased public interest in trade and opportunities; the importance of creating high pro-trade and pro-investment standards; and repealing “bad laws” as soon as possible.

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