Freight News, Sea

Updated: Minister frees up Dover funding

[ April 9, 2014   //   ]

Shipping and Ports Minister Stephen Hammond has set out a plan for the future of the Port of Dover, including new fund-raising powers. He said that discussions facilitated by the minister over how the port should best be run have resulted in a major step forward, and set out a plan that would enable the community and port to work together effectively, providing a catalyst for regeneration or the port and local area.

Under the agreed plan, there would be greater community involvement in the strategic leadership of the Trust port, with community non-executive directors added to the Board. There will also be greater financial powers for the Harbour Board, allowing it to enter joint ventures and borrow against its assets and raise substantial funds to invest in the future.

Stephen Hammond said: “Dover is a thriving port with a proud history and today I have set out changes to the port’s constitution and financial powers that will help it grow in the future, and put the community at the heart of decision-making at the port. I believe these steps are what is needed to secure a shared and enduring future for the port. I now urge the town and the port to work together to deliver its full potential.”

Earlier, the Port announced plans to develop its general cargo berths ahead of a longer-term scheme to build a second ro ro terminal. The move would keep the Harbour Revision Order for the new terminal ‘live’ while allowing existing operational areas of the port to be improved and reconfigured.

On a vist to the port, in which he set out his plan for the future, Hammond said Dover had “put in an excellent performance over the past year with a 13% increase in ro-ro traffic, and an £85 million investment programme in key infrastructure projects. This includes the completed berth 6 and traffic management improvement works which include the creation of a new holding area with capacity for 220 freight vehicles.”

Mr.Hammond added: “I would also like to thank everyone at the port for their remarkable resilience in ensuring that the port continued to operate effectively during the appalling weather we experienced this winter.”

Chairman of the Dover Harbour Board, George Jenkins, added: “I welcome the praise of the Minister for the work that has been done by the refreshed board and executive team in improving relationships with Port users, while also re-launching and developing engagement with the local community. With our recently announced vision for the Dover Western Docks Revival capable of supporting major inward investment into Dover, I am delighted that the Minister wishes to give us his backing in creating a thriving port which in turn supports and delivers for a thriving town. We will be resolute in continuing our engagement with the community; this is a real opportunity for the Port and Town of Dover to come together and deliver an exciting future for all.”

Port of Dover chief executive, Tim Waggott added: “I am grateful to the Minister for praising our hardworking team on all they have achieved, and for providing the certainty on Trust Port status they have craved for some time. Our commitment to be the Best Port in the World for the benefit of our customers and community is clear, and I look forward to further enhancing our relationships as we develop a shared vision to the benefit of future generations.”

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