2019 about 'more than Brexit' for UK ports
2019 will see the British Ports Association (BPA) focus on issues including port sector-promotion, increased public transport investment, planning/consenting improvements and issues around people and safety, in addition to Brexit.
The organisation will be promoting the case for increased road and rail infrastructure investment to better connect UK ports and encourage the development of a new national freight strategy to better facilitate trade and cargo transportation and keep the sector competitive, reducing costs for the freight and logistics industry. The BPA has also been promoting a ‘Port Zoning’ policy, which it will be looking to evidence and provide further analysis on.
BPA chief executive Richard Ballantyne said: “The BPA’s Port Development and Enterprise Zone concept is our vision is for areas around ports to be classified with a special planning, consenting, business and regulatory status to help stimulate port development and growth. The idea could see the growth of a network regional hubs around port and coastal locations across the UK.”
He added that there will be opportunities to “reach outside the industry and build in ‘Free Port’ free trade area designations into this where appropriate.”
This year, the BPA said it will be pressing the Government to prioritise transport spending on issues identified in the UK Department for Transport’s Port Connectivity Study, which assessed the transport needs of English ports, and encouraging the devolved administrations around the UK to consider similar initiatives.
The BPA said it had called for a new UK freight strategy and is encouraging Government to put in place a coastal shipping policy.
Other initiatives will include examining safety and skills at ports, supporting the working of the industry body Port Skills and Safety; launching a new ‘People in Ports’ initiative to explore the different roles that ports provide; and working with government regulators on environmental challenges some ports face in respect to consenting in designated areas and new air quality reporting requirements for ports.
The UK ports industry will also have to prepare for the introduction of the European Port Services Regulation, despite the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, added the BPA.
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