Commenting on today’s launch by the Government of a £10 million fund (the Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) Fund) for grants to allow further Brexit preparation at UK ports, Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group, said:
“The majority of UK major ports already successfully handle large quantities of non-EU trade and have been working hard to expand these processes in preparation for a range of Brexit scenarios, including no deal. They have been actively approaching Government with resilience plans.
We welcome in principle all support for investment in ports. But we must be realistic about the extent of physical change possible between now and the end of October. The Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) Fund could make a difference at some locations and circumstances, particularly if it applied to storage and areas adjacent to core port operations. But it can’t be seen as a silver bullet for the risk of no-deal disruption and £10 million should be seen in the context of the more than £600 million UK port operators invest each year.
The core task of Government for Brexit preparation remains trader readiness. It is essential that today’s announcement is not just a one-off but is part of an ongoing commitment to strengthening the UK’s ports – gateways for 95% of the UK’s trade – post Brexit through improving planning rules and road and rail connectivity.”