Freight News, Sea

We’re fine as we are, says UK ports chief

[ November 27, 2013   //   ]

UK Major Ports Group chairman Charles Hammond told the Parliamentary reception on 26 November that the country’s ports are in good health “and making a significant contribution to the economic life of the United Kingdom” – 400,000 jobs, direct and indirect, a GDP contribution of over £21 billion and tax revenues of over £6 billion. He added: “We continue to invest in our major ports – over £300 million per annum in the five years to 2011 and importantly productivity in that period has also improved by 14% and crucially since the financial recession 2009 by 8%.”

He credited Government policy of allowing ports to make their own commercial decisions on where and when to invest, how to finance and start investment and how to manage their operations. “I very much hope that policy continues not just in England but also in the other countries of the United Kingdom.”

Hammond continued: “It is fair to say that a large proportion of our industry is now owned by UK, European and Commonwealth pension funds, all taking a genuinely long-term view of the ports business. It is also the case that many of our ports have raised funding for the long term to allow our policy of investment to continue and in many cases that demand for funding has been over-subscribed.

For most posts, it was not the size of the cranes that mattered, it was how they used their assets and people to produce supply chain benefits for our customers.

These were the reasons behind the industry’s negative reaction to the proposed EU Commission Port Services Regulation which would introduce unecessary bureaucracy, interference in commercial negotiations with customers and port charges. “These proposals have been defeated on two previous occasions and we will be pressing in partnership with the Government to defeat the latest set of proposals too. We are delighted that the maritime Minister Stephen Hammond shares our concerns and will continue to work closely with the Department for Transport in campaigning against this Regulation proposal.”

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