Feature, Freight News, Sea

Green issues will trump Brexit in 2020, say ports

[ January 3, 2020   //   ]

Sustainability could overtake Brexit as main focus for the industry in 2020, says the British Ports Association in its annual New Year’s message.

Chief executive Richard Ballantyne said while UK new border controls will be a major challenge for parts of the UK logistics sector including those on the Irish Sea, head of policy and external affairs, Mark Simmonds, added that for many, “2020 is the year of the sulphur cap but the focus on air emissions from ports and shipping more widely will continue to grow. Whilst Brexit has dominated the headlines for years, sustainability has been the issue that affects all ports and it will be near the top of the political agenda for the next decade – whether it’s emissions, planning rules or marine litter. This presents huge challenges for ports and sustainability and the environment will be a particular focus for the BPA this year.” Energy transition will lead to some cargoes declining or falling away completely whilst new ones appear and offshore renewables becomes ever more important to the sector.

There will of course be potential opportunities to influence the expected deregulation drive which may include shaping any new infrastructure and fisheries funding, as well as State Aid rules and port service regulations.

BPA also expects the Government to press ahead with a Free Ports policy so encouraging an inclusive port zoning strategy, looking at how ports of all type and location will feature in national and regional growth strategies will be central. Working with the UK Government and devolved administrations, as well as implementing some of the previously considered strategies such as Maritime 2050 in England and others in the rest of the UK, will be key themes for the BPA this year.

With a ‘new’ UK Government, Brexit and any potential economic fallout may mean that the industry’s ideas for improving the planning and consenting regimes for ports start to be heard with more interest in Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont, the association adds.

Policy and Economic Analyst Phoebe Warneford-Thomson said 2020 would be “a year of real opportunity for ports” but national, regional and local planners will need to prioritise port transport and infrastructure needs in order for the sector to realise new projects and developments.

The BPA will also be heavily focusing on transport connectivity for ports this year at the first Port Connectivity Summit in March, which will focus attention on the investment needed to better integrate ports into the wider transport infrastructure and we will also be renewing calls for a new UK Freight Strategy to help UK ports be more agile and competitive.





L-R: Mark Simmonds, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Richard Ballantyne, Shenaz Bussawon and Sara Walsh