UK port connectivity review launches

digital connectivity The BPA's review will include digital connectivity. Photo: Pete Linforth/ Pixabay
Industry Database

A new review of UK port connectivity aims to highlight to government and local authorities where post-COVID-19 investment in infrastructure can be concentrated in order to maximise economic growth and speed up recovery.

The British Ports Association’s (BPA) review will look at infrastructure outside of ports such as road and rail links but also extend out to assess energy capacity, with the need for electrification in aid of the UK’s net zero emissions goal, and digital connectivity as ports move towards becoming ‘smart’.

Ports have been invited to submit an inventory of required external improvements to connectivity infrastructure. This will be used to examine the progress made since the Department for Transport’s English Port Connectivity Study two years ago; broadening this out to all ports around the UK.

Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, policy and economic analyst at the BPA, who is leading the review, said: “We are inviting ports to send us an inventory of required public infrastructure improvements and upgrades, so we can highlight to the government where investment should be focused. These upgrades can relate to transport and digital connectivity, as well as other infrastructure requirements, such as increasing energy capacity in local networks, which will be key to facilitating Britain’s transition to net-zero by 2050.”

Rail important

Hinterland transport links is fundamental for the movement of goods and passengers. Improved and increased rail access to the national network is also sought by many in the ports sector, noted the BPA.

UK ports are financially independent of Government, said the BPA. Almost all UK port infrastructure investments are privately financed; investments are market-led and GB£1.7bn is currently in the pipeline around the UK. However, ports do rely on public investment in external infrastructure to stay competitive, pointed out the BPA.

UK ports and terminals can make submissions to the review until 7 September.

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