Freight News, Sea

Ports’ border plans underfunded, says BPA

[ December 16, 2020   //   ]

Timescales have become extremely challenging in the Government’s Port Infrastructure Fund allocations, warns the British Ports Association, adding that more funding is be needed to ensure adequate border infrastructure is ready in time.

With many bids underfunded due to a high demand, some ports now face a choice of whether to proceed with scaled-back plans or quickly finding additional capital at a difficult time. Given the timescales many ports are now in a predicament as to what to do next, it says.

Full details of the Fund are expected to be publicly announced shortly but individual ports have received responses to their applications this week.

BPA chief executive Richard Ballantyne said: “The Port Infrastructure Fund allocations are welcome but we understand most projects have not received the full allocations. This means plans could need to be redrawn creating major pressures to get borders ready in time for next year. We will be asking urgently for clarification on the funding shortfalls and what the allocations mean for certain projects.”

“This infrastructure will be needed irrespective whether there is a Brexit trade deal or not, however there have been delays to the process and finding out what specifications are needed form various government agencies has been challenging. The fund was heavily oversubscribed, and we would urge the government to consider allocating further resources so that all ports can be Brexit ready, across the country.”

He added: “Whatever government does it needs to be quick. Short timescales, winter and operational pressures and post Covid-19 construction materials and employment supply challenges are also combining  to mean that at some locations the infrastructure may not be complete in time for the July 2021 deadline.”

Forth Ports welcomed its allocation from the fund of £11.7 million for Grangemouth, Tilbury and Tilbury2. It said that contractors are on site and the new border inspection facilities are set to be approved and operational for 1 July 2021.

Chief executive Charles Hammond said: “This £11.7m funding allocation for new border facilities will complement our existing work with cargo owners, shippers and the wider freight community to ensure that our global gateways stay highly productive and congestion free.”

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