Responding to media reports of demands for an inquiry about port congestion*, Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group, commented “The impact of COVID-19 has put unprecedented pressures on global supply chains. Imbalances have built up over time and there is strong demand globally for many goods sourced from Asia. It is undoubtedly a difficult situation, with ports and businesses around the world impacted. The UK also has some additional pressures from stock build before the end of the Transition period from the EU. Ports serving Asian trade routes are making real improvements against demand that remains 15-25% above comparable periods last year. They have hired more staff, committed more resources and are working closely with supply chain partners. Ports handling shorter distance container journeys, whilst busy, have additional capacity. We are in close contact with Government and progressing practical measures to increase the flow of containers on and off ports. But we are certainly not complacent. Global demand remains very high – reflected in high shipping costs that are not driven by ports – and there are no immediate, magic wand solutions.”
The UK Major Ports Group is the trade body for the UK’s major port operators. It represents nine of the top ten port operators in UK. Our members collectively handle 75% of the UK’s port volumes through 40 ports. These include the largest ports in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. UKMPG members together already invest around £500 million per year in the UK’s ports and related infrastructure.
Current UKMPG members are Associated British Ports, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, The Bristol Port Company, DP World UK (operators of the global container facilities at Southampton and London Gateway), Forth Ports, Hutchison Ports UK (operators of Felixstowe), PD Ports, Peel Ports and the Port of London Authority.