Ports remain at the forefront of the drive to protect the UK’s future prosperity. 95% of our trade in goods moves by sea and ports provide the key link connecting British businesses and exporters to global markets. This is more important than ever, as we begin the process of leaving the European Union and start to revitalise old trade links and build new ones. We want to collaborate with Government to help deliver the best possible outcome for Britain in the months and years ahead.
That means working to achieve five key objectives:
- Ensure frictionless borders with the EU, so that disruption to the movement of goods and services at UK borders is kept to a minimum – Trade with Europe will remain an important part of the UK’s economic picture, even after Brexit. We want to see pragmatic, practical solutions that will allow trade with Europe to continue to flow freely in both directions.
- Build a UK regulatory environment to maximise the nation’s competitive advantage – As part of the work relating to the Great Repeal Bill to reduce administrative burdens and allow ports to unlock their full potential, as well as to facilitate the growth of other associated industries (such as manufacturing, energy and logistics).
- Create a planning system that both backs investment and protects the environment – Recognising the need to find sustainable development solutions, both the terrestrial and marine planning regimes should be reviewed to smooth out unnecessary delays and enable ports to invest when and where needed, for the benefit of both the local and the national economy.
- Guarantee Government support for major infrastructure projects, to ensure that UK industry is well positioned to take advantage of any new business opportunities that may arise – World class ports need world class connections. The new Government should make investing in road and rail links to major ports a priority, to give businesses and exporters easier access to global markets, helping to boost trade, increase growth and create more jobs.
- Support industry investment in training and safety – Ports are investing heavily in both attracting new people into the maritime sector and enhancing the skills of existing staff. Ports are also working hard to drive accident rates down even further and better training is a major part of this effort. The Government can help through continued support for training and apprenticeships and strong partnership working on health and safety.
The UK ports industry is a national success story. We want that success to continue, so that our sector is safe, sustainable and productive. Whichever party wins the forthcoming General Election, our industry is committed to making sure that this success can continue, to help promote trade, attract investment and create jobs in the UK.