18 November 2015
Our Scottish Parliamentary maritime reception held at Holyrood on the 18th November proved to be the best attended ever with strong representation from MSPs, ports and shipping as well as leading figures from the freight, environmental and training sectors.
Hosted by Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney, the meeting was addressed by the Transport Minister, Derek Mckay and the Chair of the Scottish Ports Committee, Lorna Spencer, Director of Harbours at Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd.
Acknowledging the ports sector’s economic contribution and its support for 54,900 jobs in Scotland, the Minister also referred to plans for new developments and the continued resilience of the industry during testing times. ‘We continue to see,’ he said, ‘strong performances in ports with record levels of turnover and tonnages reported in some areas.’
The recent passing of the Harbours Bill will provide more stability for the trust port sector in Scotland and there will be changes as a result of the Scotland Bill now making its way through Westminster. These include new arrangements for the Crown Estate which could have significant implications for all ports.
The Chair of the Scottish Ports Committee, Lorna Spencer, also highlighted the productive working relationship with the Scottish Government. She welcomed the attention being given to the freight industry and the need for higher levels of investment in road and rail in order to ensure efficient connectivity. The environment was also a challenge with the impact of new Marine Protection Areas to be consulted on in detail next year. ‘Self- regulation is vital for ports,’ she said. ‘We are proud of our independence and the advantages that have resulted. There are some difficult market challenges ahead but we believe that the framework is right for us to meet them in partnership with the government and all our stakeholders.”
The BPA also produced an informative handout for the event which can be found attached to this article as a PDF file below.