BPA chair: ports a force for good

The Port of Southampton in 2016 Photo: M. Zhu/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 The Port of Southampton in 2016 Photo: M. Zhu/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Industry Database

Ports are part of the solution, not the problem, when it comes to a range of challenges facing the UK, the chairman of the British Ports Association (BPA) has said.

In a speech at the BPA’s annual lunch and AGM in April, Martin Lawlor, who is also the chief executive of the Port of Blyth, talked of ports’ foundational role in the UK’s economy.

According to him, UK ports constitute important regional economic employment centres in coastal cities and towns and serve as the bedrock of the growing blue economy.

“Ports are gateways for numerous maritime sectors, including cruise, fishing, offshore energy, leisure and, of course, general cargo movement, with UK ports handling 95% of the nation’s goods,” Mr Lawlor said during his address.

“We are not just enablers of trade but the foundation of the entire blue economy, supporting the safe navigation of vessels from jet skis to oil tankers and doing so independently and at no cost to the taxpayer.”

According to Mr Lawlor, shipping still constitutes the most efficient means of transporting freight, be it from England to Scotland or Brazil to the UK.

“Your average bulk carrier is more efficient than a Toyota Prius,” he argued. “So, whether it’s climate change or regenerating coastal towns, ports are a part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

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