The United Kingdom Major Ports Group (UKMPG) has launched a new manifesto - Ports4Prosperity - for the UK ports industry at the recent party conferences in Manchester and Birmingham. A copy of the manifesto can be downloaded here.
Representing 41 of the UK's major ports, UKMPG is calling on the Government to work with the ports sector to support UK industry.
UK ports play a huge role in delivering national prosperity; 95% of the nation's trade in goods is moved by sea. UK ports support 400,000 jobs and contribute over £21 billion to the economy every year.
The manifesto sets out five key points. It urges the Government to ensure the EU works for, not against, UK ports. The proposed EU Port Services Regulation is a major threat to the nation's ports industry and the launch of the manifesto coincides with industry calls for the Government to defend the national interest by blocking or exempting the UK from the European Commission's plans. Resolving the issue is now a race against time with the Italian Presidency aiming to reach a political agreement by 8 October.
The manifesto also appeals for a joined up approach across Government; better road and rail links; support for training and continuous improvement of health and safety; and a better land and marine planning system which will allow ports to invest when and where necessary.
The Rt Hon John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport with responsibility for ports, welcomed the manifesto and said:
"This Government recognises that the UK ports sector is an important contributor to our economic growth. I am proud to have forged such a close partnership with the sector through the strategic partnership plan for ports developed jointly with industry and across government. I commend the work of UKMPG in delivering our shared goals."
Speaking at the launch event at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Shadow Minister for Transport Gordon Marsden MP said
"I was delighted to help launch the Ports for Prosperity manifesto which is full of laudable measures to help us recognise ports as the great economic assets they are. We need national and local governments to put ports at the heart of intelligent, long-term planning. But even more pressing today is the need for ministers to be robust in Europe and stop new regulations placing unnecessary burdens on our vibrant, competitive ports and jeopardising the working conditions of those employed within them."
UKMPG Executive Director Richard Bird said:
"Ports are vital for the UK but do not always receive the attention they deserve. We do not look for subsidy but need Government support in other ways so we can continue to provide the high quality and competitive service our customers and the country rightly demand."