In the context of Budget Statement, the British Ports Association is calling on the Chancellor to give priority to transport infrastructure spending and to ensure that port connectivity schemes are not overlooked.
The UK’s transport network facilitates the movement of significant volumes of freight and allows British business and industry to be competitive. Much of this freight passes through ports, which handle 95% of the UK’s international trade, British Ports Association mentions.
British Ports Association’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne said: “We await the Chancellor’s Statement with interest and are hopeful that this will include some investment for the UK’s transport infrastructure and links to ports. In the current political and economic climate ports can stimulate growth, often in deprived regions. Collectively the UK’s diverse network of ports and terminals handle almost 500m tonnes of freight each year. They do however rely on good hinterland connections to facilitate this traffic. We have been working with the Department for Transport and feeding into its Port Connectivity Study to identify issues and areas of need.
Continuing, Mr. Ballantyne commented about Brexit and said that “depending upon the type of Brexit we have there could be new bureaucratic cross-border requirements such as customs and environmental checks. These could impact a number of ports, particularly the sizeable levels of UK-EU ‘roll-on roll-off’ HGV port traffic.”
For that reason it is important that the Government ensures the road and rail link’s efficiency, in order to facilitate freight and passengers to enter and leave UK without facing any problem, Richard Ballantyne noted.
“Separately the Chancellor is expected to outline investment and planning reform to help stimulate UK house building. Although not directly related to ports, these developments will need construction materials, much of which will need to be imported. The British Ports Association has also been pushing for the streamlining of the terrestrial and marine planning systems to help ports develop and grow. This will not require huge sums of money but it will need a degree of political aspiration from policy makers,” the British Ports Association stated.
Lastly, Budget announcements about autonomous vehicles have been profiled in the media and it is interesting what these announcements can mean for the road haulage industry and for ports in the medium and longer term as well, the British Ports Association emphasizes.