What is the British Ports Association?

What is the British Ports Association?

The British Ports Association is a national membership body for ports. We represent the interests of operators that handle 86% of all UK port traffic, to Westminster and devolved Governments, and other national and international bodies.

We are an inclusive and progressive association, open to all and committed to supporting Government to deliver a policy framework that enables all ports to thrive. As our membership comprises many ports, terminal operators and port facilities, all of varying size, location and nature, the Association is able to draw upon a wide range of experience and knowledge to represent its members’ interests. We also have a strong network of Associate Members who add much to the value of membership. We promote good port management and governance and membership is considered by many in the sector as an indication of a safe and respectable port operation. The BPA’s secretariat facilitates a range of services and is the go-to body for ports policy and information.

Our industry

The UK ports industry plays a fundamentally important role in the country’s economy. 95% of the UK’s international trade – imports and exports – is carried through UK ports which also handle 25 million international passenger journeys each year.

Ports are investing large sums – at no cost to the Exchequer – to expand facilities to cope with increasing demand, particularly in the Ro/Ro, container and offshore energy sectors. Investment of this nature is crucial if the UK economy is to remain competitive internationally.

Our Goals

The BPA’s aims are to:

  • Dedicate resources to representing a wide variety of UK port interests to government in the UK and internationally;
  • Provide a resource for its members on legislative and policy issues, as well as a forum for the exchange of knowledge and development of best practice;
  • Work towards achieving an equitable and transparent ports industry and a level playing field throughout Europe;
  • Promote the use of ports and shipping as an environmentally sustainable mode of transport.

The BPA also provide the secretariat for the Association of Participating Bodies of the Pilots’ National Pension Fund (APBPNPF). More details can be found here.

Who are our Members?

BPA members represent a very broad cross section of the UK port industry encompassing the trust, private and municipal sectors. Its members cover every kind of activity ranging from large cargo handling ports and terminal operators to small leisure ports.

The spread of these interests mean that the Association maintains a very wide range of contacts within the government. Full membership is available to all port authorities and port groups whilst associate membership is available to terminal operators and industry related organisations.

Ports typically fall into one of three types of ownership, privatised, local authority, or trust. All three models are equally open to market forces, and are run independently as stand-alone, self-financing commercial enterprises, free from systematic government support or subsidy.

The BPA is an inclusive ports trade association representing its members’ interests, irrespective of ownership, activity or size.

View a list of Members in the Our Members section of the BPA site.