Following the recent events where the British Government announced its plans on ten Freeports that will boost UK's economic growth after the Brexit, the British Ports Association applauds the plan and highlights that the UK ports will be extremely benefited.
In welcoming the new plan, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive at the British Ports Association commented
"We are pleased that Ministers recognise the vital economic role that ports play and we are keen to explore with the Government how this can be boosted further. We also welcome additional focus on how ports can further support national and regional economies."
Mr Ballantyne notes that BPA is closely collaborating with ports and airports on proposals for ‘Port Enterprise & Development Zones’ that will support economic activity across a much wider range of ports all across the UK. The proposals include recommendations on planning, enterprise and the tax system that could be added into a UK freeport model. As well as Teesport, ports like Milford Haven and Tyne are at an advanced stage in looking at such options.
Moreover, he adds that having a Free port status will be a positive image for the market, in order to attract inward investment and the Government will need to satisfy itself that this is not at the expense of other UKlocations. BPA wishes to cooperate with the Government on finding a UK-specific model to boost sustainable development in and around ports.
In the meantime, Mr Ballantyne suggests that the selection of 10 UK Free Port sites could be a full-changing experience for some locations, but three will need to be some balance to ensure that this ports which don’t have status are not disadvantaged.
"That’s why we are proposing the wider concept of a Port Zone status, alongside the Free Port proposals, at all UK Ports might be a way to encourage the industry to grow cohesively."
It will be important that any Free Port designations are industry led. The newly formed advisory DIT Panel should therefore take a bottom up approach and avoid where possible political pressures.
Brexit has brought UK ports in the spotlight, as their importance has only increased in the context of the Brexit, with 95% of all UK trade being enabled by the sector. That's why, the British Government published the Maritime 2050, at a time when the UK faced intense competition from maritime nations in the Far East, Northern Europe, Gulf and North America.