Ports Business Confidence Survey

British Ports Association Publishes Business Confidence Survey


Maritime industry professionals remain confident about the year ahead despite wider uncertainty, according to new data published by the British Ports Association today. Ports themselves are more likely to be worried about the economy over the next 12 months, however.

Confidence: Less than a third (29%) of ports feel confident about the economy in the next year, but 51% of the wider maritime industry feels confident. 83% of ports were planning investments into new business services, property or infrastructure in the next three months.
Brexit: The survey reveals that half of ports do not feel that Brexit will affect them (either negatively or positively) in the next year, whilst a third feel it will impact them negatively. This can be attributed to the structure of the industry (i.e. some ports will handle more non-EU trade, for example)

Employment: On the back of new figures last week showing that the ports industry directly employs 115,000 people, one third of ports that responded reported that they would be hiring additional staff in the next 12 months.

Revenue: 45% of ports that responded said that their revenue had gone up in the last 12 months, 26% said it was stable and 29% said it had dropped.

Top concerns: The economy was cited as the top concern by ports, closely followed by Brexit (which may be related). Environment/Climate Change (including regulation) was in third place. Maritime industry professionals cited Brexit, Environment/Climate Change (including regulation), and the economy as their top three concerns in that order.

Key takeaways for the British Ports Association:

  • UK Ports policy is working and delivering a thriving and competitive independent sector. 83% are planning investment in new services or infrastructure and a third of ports surveyed are planning to hire new, additional, staff in the next year.
  • Despite continuing political and economic uncertainty clouding the horizon, the majority of ports are confident about their business over the next year
  • Two-thirds of port professionals are concerned about the economic outlook and a similar number are concerned about the impact of Brexit (which may be related). This is good news for the economy as jobs in the ports industry are 55% more productive than average

Commenting on the results, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Political and Economic Analyst at the British Ports Association said:

“The results of the BPA Business Confidence Survey reveal that ports are strong, resilient and performing well under the current economic climate.News that 83% of ports are planning investments into new business services, property or infrastructure in the next three months is highly welcome. Meanwhile, figures that show one-third of ports are hiring additional staff in the next 12 months – on top of the 115,000 port industry staff revealed by Maritime UK Ports Industry Report last week – also illuminates the prosperity of the industry. Ultimately, these positive statistics serve to evidence the effectiveness and success of UK port policy, which allows ports to be run commercially and independent of government.”

The BPA will be repeating the survey twice a year.

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