Richard Ballantye BPA British Ports Association

Ahead of the UK Ports Development Conference the British Ports Association (BPA) have called on Government to review its freight strategy whilst prioritising port connectivity initiatives to drive economic growth with the UK. Responding to the National Infrastructure Commission’s interim report into the ‘Future of Freight’ BPA’s Chief Executive Richard Ballantyne welcomed the focus on the UK’s long-term transport challenges but called for the initiative to be reinforced with clear public investment aspirations in freight and networking connectivity.

Richard Ballantyne said: “The BPA welcome the NIC’s progress. This interim report provides an important reminder to Government about the importance of freight transport. it also highlights some of the challenges the nation faces in terms of our ageing transport infrastructure. The UK’s transport network is vital for ports and everyone in the freight and logistics sector.”

Although UK Ports are ran privately – with those independent owners set to speak at the UK Ports Development Conference in 2019 – they’re so incredibly crucial to the UK economy that there is good collaboration between Government, regional authorities and the ports.

Ballantyne added: “While we support a long-term approach we’re keen that the NIC’s work leads to clearer funding commitments and soon. In recent years Government has focused investment towards ‘big ticket’ passenger schemes and it’s important that freight is not neglected to help the UK remain competitive.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) has recently undertaken an assessment of Port Connectivity needs in England and its Road Investment Strategy has received a welcome boost in funding. As 95% of UK trade passes through British ports they’re crucial to helping the country prosper – ensuring both people and goods flow seamlessly in and out of the country and across our transport network to and from the ports.

Ballantye continued: “We’d like to see some visionary economic growth policies which could see ports become hubs of regional economic activity stimulating more trade and jobs. We’re promoting a concept of defining certain coastal areas as ‘Port Development and Enterprise Zones’ which could have preferential planning and business rules to support regional growth. We would press that future freight or industrial strategy should incorporate these ideas.”

Alongside the Budget in November 2017, the Chancellor asked the National Infrastructure Commission to provide the Government to assess freight infrastructure over the next 30 years. This included approaches needed to help manage the impacts of emissions and congestion associated with freight.

 

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