Freight News, Logistics, Sea

FTA welcomes ports report

[ October 26, 2011   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association said it welcomed the Department for Transport’s National Policy Statement (NPS) for Ports, published in late October, for recognising the essential role that ports play in the UK’s supply chain and supporting the view that longer-term demand for greater port capacity is expected.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of supply chain, added that the NPS also identifies the benefits of greater port capacity and port infrastructure development.

In the report, the DfT said: “The total need for port infrastructure depends not only on overall demand for port capacity but also on the need to retain the flexibility that ensures that port capacity is located where it is required, including in response to any changes in inland distribution networks and ship call patterns that may occur, and on the need to ensure effective competition and resilience in port operations.”

Snelling concluded: “Greater port capacity will become a necessity based on forecasts, and the value of improved levels of competition and increased resilience seem to be recognised in the NPS. This is good news for port developers who are now on more certain ground when making decisions which will increase port facilities around the country. Ultimately, this could help us make greater use of coastal shipping as an alternative to road freight.”

The report also added that if all the major container port developments were to be built, aggregate container capacity would be broadly in line with the pre-recession forecast for demand over the

next 20 years or so. The report lists the major current schemes as: Felixstowe expansion; Bathside Bay (Harwich), though this development is not expected to proceed for some years; London Gateway; Teesport expansion; Liverpool’s new deep water terminal; Bristol; and Southampton expansion.

However, the speed at which these developments took place depended on many factors and: “There may therefore be opportunities for other developers to bring forward proposals for alternative or additional developments that satisfy demand that these consented developments are not meeting, as well as a continuing requirement for further new container capacity to meet anticipated longer term growth”.