Media Centre

The UK ports industry plays a key role in the country’s economy as 95% of the UK’s international trade – imports and exports – is carried through British ports, handling 500 million tonnes of frieght and 60 million passengers each year. 

The British Ports Association represents the interests of over 100 port members, covering more than 400 ports, terminal operators and port facilities. This page contains the latest news and reaction from the BPA on topical issues. Please use the contacts listed below for interview and comment requests as well as further background information.

Media Contacts

Mark Simmonds - Director of Policy & External Affairs

Phone, SMS, Whatsapp: 07387090955 (inc. out of hours) -

Mark is the main liaison for enquiries

Richard Ballantyne - Chief Executive


Covid and 'Pingdemic'

Ports undertake essential activities, helping supply the country with food, goods and fuel. The current ‘pingdemic’ and rules requiring individuals to self isolate if alerted by the NHS App is taking critical workers out of action and we are keen to see port workers given a special status to keep our international gateways open:

“The logistics industry is being stretched and we are approaching a critical point in the government’s pandemic response. Indeed the current increase in port employees, logistics workers and haulier absences due to Covid alerts, is really putting the freight sector under serious pressure. It’s time for the government to act. Essentially staff shortages are leading to inefficiencies across the logistics sector which have created some delays in goods being transported to and from UK traders. It’s important we act now to prevent the situation from escalating.

There are a number of critical roles undertaken by port operators, such as dock workers, crane drivers and maritime pilots and it is essential that these roles are included in any exemptions. However other port staff and the wider logistics workforces also need to be recognised. As we have seen previously, the freight and shipping industry are nothing but resilient so with support from the government we can keep the country trading and open for business.”

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive
British Ports Association

22 July 2021


The BPA supports an ambitious and bespoke UK Freeport model that will support jobs, development and regeneration.

Click here to read more about what we think about the Government’s proposals and for background information on what is being proposed.

Proposals for a Fixed-link between Northern Ireland and Great Britain

The Government has asked the Union Connectivity Review to conduct a feasibility investigation into proposals of a fixed-link between GB and NI.

The BPA has warned of growing concern at the consideration of costly fixed-link proposals.

Global Container Congestion Affecting UK Ports

Container ports around the world are dealing with backlogs in containers. UK ports are experiencing particularly high volumes as a result of that combined with additional traffic from stockpiling ahead of the end of the transition period.

Read more about why this is happening and how the UK is affected, here.

End of the Brexit Transition

From 1 January 2021, the EU implements new customs and regulatory controls at their ports for goods arriving from Great Britain. The UK will phase in import controls over twelve months. Click here for more information on the impacts this is having at UK ports.

BPA Press Releases

Read our latest press releases and news items