Freight News, Sea

Minister promises cash for storm-hit ports

[ April 3, 2014   //   ]

Transport Minster Stephen Hammond announced a £2 million fund to help smaller ports recover from the winter storms, at a British Ports Association lunch on 3 April. The BPA will be contacting all eligible ports with details and application forms shortly, he said. These will then be assessed by an independent panel, appointed by the BPA. He also promised money to improve road access to ports through the Local Growth Fund and that forward looking Local Economic Partnerships, like Dorset, “have already started thinking about how the fund can improve access to ports.”

He also promised to consider the future of trust ports during the year and how this might need to alter in future, including how local communities and businesses can be involved more closely with them. He would also examine whether there was scope for greater use of private finance help trust ports develop further in future, adding: “There is no reason why trust ports, the larger ones in particular shouldn’t be an attractive proposition to lenders.

He said he understood frustrations with how ports were classified under government accounting rules, saying: “We need to look further at how we ensure that access to capital is not stymied by bureaucratic accounting rules.” There could be innovative ways in which medium-sized and perhaps even smaller ports could benefit from greater access to private finance.

The government report, Modernising Trust Ports 2 is now five years old and needs reviewing, said the minister.

He noted that progress on the European Commission’s proposed regulation on port services has ground to a halt for the time being and while this was not too disappointing, given the level of bureaucracy and regulation envisaged, there are some features worth cultivating, especially those related financial transparency.



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