Ports must be prioritised in UK industrial strategy
Ports should be prioritised in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, British Ports Association’s (BPA) chief executive has said.
Following the paper’s release, Richard Ballantyne said that the focus of the paper is “very much towards emerging technologies” and it is “vital that ports and freight are recognised as being essential to national and regional growth and increased international trade.”
He said that while it was acknowledged that ports provide hubs for industry and employment, a freight strategy that recognises ports as being vital components of the logistics chain should be introduced to aid industrial growth.
Greater focus should be placed on transport connectivity and planning to stimulate national and regional development, he stressed.
It remains vital that the UK road network in particular has sufficient capacity to facilitate trade to and from ports as this is majority of freight is transported.
“In recent years the ports sector has seen an unprecedented increase in the level of restrictive planning conditions and environmental designations, which have regularly interfered with port activity and development. This must be addressed,” Mr Ballantyne emphasised.
Lack of focus
He added that the ports sector has previously seen investment largely channelled toward big ticket passenger projects with no real focus on freight.
The BPA is working with partners in the umbrella group Maritime UK to prepare a bid for a maritime sector deal with the aim of stimulating greater attention on measures that would enable ports to develop and grow through embracing technological changes and automation, improvements to port planning and consenting arrangements, investment for skill initiatives and transport infrastructure.
Improved funding for road and rail links to ports would help growth as would a revival of coastal shipping opportunities, which the BPA has also called on Government to review for recently, it said.
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