British Ports Association meets with Port Minister

BPA Chairman Rodney Lunn and Director Richard Ballantyne met with the Department for Transport Minister of State, John Hayes MP today in Westminster.

With the implications of Brexit on port activities continuing to be an important topic for the ports sector, the Minister heard that post Brexit, possible increased frontier and customs activities at ports might lead to disruption on cargo and logistics flows. There are concerns this might make UK ports less competitive and add costs to the freight industry. 

There was also a discussion on UK infrastructure. The BPA are keen to see increased government investment in national infrastructure, particularly in road schemes which would benefit port connectivity to national networks.

Commenting on the meeting, BPA Director Richard Ballantyne said:

“In the run up to Brexit this is a crucial time for the UK ports industry and we are grateful for the attention which the Minister and his officials have shown towards the sector.

It is vital that government activity at our borders does not disrupt important gateways for freight and passenger routes. We would welcome any initiatives the Government has to streamline such processes.

We would also encourage the Government to consider how transport infrastructure investments can help to connect ports to our national road and rail networks.”

During the meeting the BPA was also able to introduce the concept of ‘port zoning’ to the Minister, which could protect and encourage further port development. This could see moves to speed up consents processes and limits on the impacts of environmental designations.

Richard Ballantyne added:

“We envisage a system whereby port areas and surrounding clusters might be classified as ‘special port zones’ with fast tracked planning and licensing systems. Such zones could safeguard against restrictive environmental designations, which can often limit port growth and development.”