With Brexit looming and the UK’s import and export relationships outside the EU changing, we decided to round up the latest stories from UK ports.
UKMPG launches growth plan for ports
The UK Major Ports Group – representing the UK’s larger commercial ports- published a five-point plan for improving UK ports.
The points of the plan are:
· Creating a port sector that quickly adapts to change
· Improving overall connectivity to boost trade and productivity
· A development plan to increase jobs and local investment
· Sustainable ports that are environmentally friendly
· Plans to make UK ports are the most advanced in the world
Tim Morris, CEO of UKMPG, said the trade association will be setting up roundtables with the government to turn the plan’s points into practical changes.
Several departments will be involved including the Department for Transport, the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Mr Morris continued that the government must keep investing in STEM skills in education, as well as schemes like the Apprenticeship Levy.
Port of Liverpool calls for 200 extra staff
The Port of Liverpool announced a new recruitment drive.
The port plans to welcome 200 new staff members during 2019.
Last year’s turnover was 11%. The jobs are as port operatives, drivers of “straddle carrier” freight trucks, data analysts and management jobs.
The Peel Ports company which runs the Port of Liverpool is also recruiting at Heysham and Great Yarmouth.
BPA calls for action
The British Ports Association calls to review cross-border trade. The move follows research by Maritime UK and the Institute of Directors on a no-deal Brexit.
World Maritime News says that while documents that mitigate new customs and border checks exist, Michel Barnier—Europe’s chief negotiator for Brexit—has said we can’t count on these documents going forward.
The review included questions about how frontier inspections like port health standards will work in the future.
The port health standards are currently mandated under EU law. At the moment it is unclear how these will be affected without a Brexit deal.
British MPs have voted to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances. However, according to the BBC, the vote isn’t binding, and the UK may leave the EU without a deal.
FTA joins ‘Power of Ports’ campaign
The Freight Transport Association has joined Ports for International Trade, a campaign backed by the government and several trade associations.
The campaign is designed to maximise chances for economic growth and job creation in local communities.
The increase in port usage is reflected in an increase in global trade.
MSC gains new route from Liverpool
The shipping giant MSC has added an extra cargo route to its operations at the Port of Liverpool.
The new twice-weekly route will cover Turkey, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Canada.
Eight MSC vessels will call at Seaforth before continuing to ports in North America and Southern Europe.
In January MSC permanently switched its Transatlantic route from Felixstowe to Liverpool.
No port checks in the event of no deal
The Independent reports that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK ports will be able to wave through goods from the EU without customs checks.
This policy will be put in place at 20 ports around the UK. Declarations can be postponed, along with associated import duties.
Companies importing goods into Britain will still need to fill out a customs form at EU locations.
This seems to be a response to the long customs checks that a no-deal Brexit would result in. Without a deal, customs checks would apparently take eight hours on average to complete.
However, Labour supporter Geraint Davies (and member of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain group) argued the wave-through-goods policy is a safety risk.
Ramsgate Port Reopens
As part of the UK’s no-deal contingency plan, a small British port is being extended and will be a backup port for freight.
With anticipated delays at UK customs leading to queues of vehicles, it’s hoped the port at Ramsgate could prevent a vehicle bottleneck at Dover and Folkestone.
The areas around the Ramsgate have been dredged for more access for vehicles to roll-on roll-off ships.
The port will come into use if there are significant delays at Calais, Dover and Folkestone.
Bristol Port Expands
Another no-deal contingency plan is at Bristol Port. The port has put aside land to help other major UK ports.
Bristol Port covers approximately 2,500 acres; of this, 800 acres are ‘Temporary Storage Areas’. Bristol Port has said it can make these storage areas available to other ports should they be needed.
Most of Bristol Port’s exports come from outside the EU.
The port isn’t expecting an impact from a no-deal Brexit.
David Brown, Bristol Port’s CEO, has said they’re ready to help other ports in the event of a Brexit backlog.
New Offshore Wind Base
Hutchison Ports Harwich International starts the £10 million construction project of an offshore wind base.
The Gallopher Offshore Wind Farm is set to be a 353 megawatt (MW) wind farm and will create 120 local jobs.
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