British ports calls for a new freight strategy and renewed focus on coastal shipping at Multimodal

With the freight and logistics industry gathered in Birmingham at this year’s Multimodal exhibition, the British Ports Association has renewed calls for a new UK freight strategy and the further consideration of coastal shipping opportunities.
Speaking at the Freight Transport Association’s ‘What’s new in modal shift’ seminar at Multimodal today, the British Ports Association’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne suggested:


“We have been pressing Government to produce a new national ‘freight strategy’ covering all transport modes. Built into that could be some renewed consideration of coastal shipping opportunities. The ports industry has broadly welcomed the UK Department for Transport’s recent Port Connectivity Study which assessed some of the challenges ports face from a transport perspective. Included in the report was a recommendation for the Government and industry to jointly consider the prospects for coastal shipping. It’s not an easy win but the UK’s island geography and proximity to continental Europe means it is definitely worth refreshing national thinking. With a strong selection of over 140 active cargo handling ports spread around the UK and new environmental pressures on the transport network, such as in relation to congestion and air quality, coastal shipping could certainly become more viable. As well as freight grants the Government could look at creating a planning environment to provide ports, developers and shippers with the right conditions to consider new services.”


Mr Ballantyne also added that the British Ports Association is planning to hold an event with Freight Transport Association’s water freight promotional body, Freight by Water, later in the year to stimulate debate and consideration of the future prospects for ports and coastal shipping.


The Multimodal seminar was chaired by Alex Veitch of the FTA and looked at trends, challenges, and opportunities for freight by water in the UK including short sea shipping and innovative ideas for last mile delivery, linking inland water freight and cycle deliveries. Alongside Mr Ballantyne, the speakers included Warren Marshall, Group Planning Director, Peel Ports; Ivor Chomacki, Consultant, UK Cycle Logistics Federation; and David Lowe, Chairman, Commercial Boat Operators Association.

Now in its eleventh year, Multimodal is the UK and Ireland’s main freight transport, logistics and supply chain management event. It is held in the NEC in Birmingham and covers every logistics sector under one roof, making it a major industry showcase for those in the industry.