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BPA: 2019 will be about more than just Brexit

British Ports Associations (BPA) Chief Executive Richard Ballantyne has outlined the Association’s key priorities for 2019. The BPA is looking at challenges and opportunities facing UK ports beyond Brexit this year, although potential new border controls, changes to environmental and regulatory rules and a new fisheries policy remain as major themes for the industry in 2019.

BPA stated it is keen to focus on port sector promotion, increased public transport investment, planning/consenting improvements and issues around people and safety which will all be priorities for all ports across the UK.

Outlining the BPA’s key aims and on Brexit, Mr Ballantyne said: “2019 will be another critical year for UK ports and in the coming months we should start know what Brexit will look like. UK ports provides important international gateways for goods and passengers and it is essential that the industry features highly in the Government’s Brexit considerations. This is particularly important to pro-trade facilitation measures in relation to any new border control processes at British ports and especially at the UK’s network of Roll-on Roll-off ferry ports which facilitate much of the UK’s European trade.”


Alongside Brexit the BPA has been promoting a ‘Port Zoning’ policy which the BPAwill be looking to evidence and provide further analysis on. Mr Ballantyne continued: “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. Ports themselves are often in areas of deprivation and economic need. Business, enterprise and skills incentives could be designed to help ports, tenants and connected businesses. Many of the rules in relation to environmental legislation and consenting stem from the EU and the BPA is encouraging policymakers to review how ports and coastal developers are regulated. There will also be opportunities to reach outside the industry and build in ‘Free Port’ free trade area designations into this where appropriate.”


Ballantyne highlighted the opportunity this presents, saying: “Ports rely on good hinterland connections but in recent years much of the public investment in transport has been allocated to passenger schemes. Last year the UK Department for Transport published its Port Connectivity Study, which was an excellent initiative assessing the transport needs of English ports. In 2019 we will be pressing the Government to prioritise transport spending on issues identified in the Study and encouraging the devolved administrations around the UK to consider similar initiatives. This covers links to major transport arteries in the Road Investment Strategy and particular challenges such as ‘last mile’ connections to ports.


We have called for a new UK freight strategy and are working closely with the National Infrastructure Commission on the development of their freight study and the Scottish National Transport Strategy Review, which we hope will lead to renewed focus on freight in terms of transport policy. Alongside this we are also encouraging Government to put in place a coastal shipping policy.”

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