About Us

Formed in 1993, the UK Major Ports Group is the trade body for the UK’s major port operators and represents nine of the top ten port operators in UK. 95% of the UK’s physical trade with the world arrives or departs by sea, of which 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, Forth Ports, Hutchison Ports UK, PD Ports, Peel Ports, and the Port of London Authority.

As gateways to the world, major ports are a crucial enabler of strategic supply chains for the UK – allowing British industries to thrive both here and abroad and bringing in goods that we all depend on in our daily lives. The ports sector is also a significant driver in promoting investment and employment in coastal regions, many of which face significant socio-economic challenges. Our members ports are more than just places of transit for goods and people. They are economic hubs in their own right, with the development of logistics, manufacturing, and service sector facilities, as well as satellite businesses beyond historic cargo handling activities. This influx of investment and business potential creates further jobs for local communities – building on the approximately 115,000 people directly employed by the ports sector as of 2017.

Ports also hold the key to a more sustainable environmental future. Moving freight by water is up to nine times cleaner in terms of emissions than by road and nearly one hundred times better than by air. Ports are continuing to drive down their emissions through investing in new generations of hybrid and electrical equipment and vehicles. As hubs between water and land, ports are also working on improving their ecological performance by improving local habitats and biodiversity. Ports are also vital to key to the development and roll out forms of greener energy such as offshore renewables and hydrogen. Major ports want to work with customers and politicians to increase the pace of these advancements in a way that is sustainable both environmentally and economically.

Under private sector ownership, ports have attracted large flows of inward global investment – Complimenting UK capital from port operators and 6.2 million UK pension fund members. As a result, the UK’s major port operators have an ambitious, outward-facing mind set – Delivering over £500 million of investment per year in ports and associated infrastructure largely without recourse to government funding. Where there has been public sector investment, a third-party review of recent major developments for UKMPG of members key investment projects estimates that for every £1 from the public purse, the private sector invested £16.

This level of investment, research, care, and capability underpins a UK ports sector that is competitive and successful in an everchanging world.


Ports across the UK


People employed directly


Value added to gdp

A Word from Tim Morris

Chief Executive of UKMPG

Welcome to the UK Major Ports Group website and thank you for your interest in the UK’s vibrant and resilient ports sector.

The United Kingdom is an island nation, but not insular in outlook or ambition or in its relationship with the world. From half our food needs, to many of the materials UK businesses need, to the very screen you are reading this message on, we import so much of what we use and rely on in daily life. Ports are an essential part of that those strategic supply chain with 95% of all trade entering or leaving the country does so via a port.

Beyond their traditional role as gateways for trade, our ports are also economic engines in their own right. They are bases for maritime industries both new – such as offshore renewable energy – and traditional – such as fishing. But they are also centres for a whole range of broader economic activity. Major ports are home to logistics operations, manufacturing facilities, offices and even film studios. All of these activities drive investment and create jobs often way in excess of port employment itself.

This investment and job creation role is especially important as the UK’s coastal communities can too often experience significant socio-economic challenges. Through their own activity, the ‘multiplier’ impacts on local communities and by attracting investment from others ports are catalysts for coastal community prosperity and opportunity.

This commitment to responsible business extends to sustainability. Moving goods by water is far better for the environment than by other transit methods, being approximately nine times cleaner in terms of carbon emissions than road haulage, and one hundred times cleaner than air travel. Our members aim to lead in the drive for a Net Zero United Kingdom and have already implemented many initiatives to drive down emissions, decrease dependence on fossil fuels, fight plastic waste plastic and improve habitats and biodiversity.

The UK Major Ports Group represents nine of the top ten largest port operators in the UK, accounting for over forty ports handling approximately 75% of all freight travelling by water and collectively investing more than half a billion pounds a year in the UK. We we provide support to our members as they navigate an ever-changing world and represent their interests on a national and international level. We also promote the ports sector as a critical component of the national supply chain and work with Government to ensure the industry remains robust and resilient enough to handle future challenges.

We hope that you’ll find more of interest on our website that tells you more about the UK’s ports, the vital role they play and what’s required to grow their contribution to the UK still further. And thank you again for your interest in us and our sector.

Who We Represent

Ports across the UK

UK Major Ports Group is the trade association for most of the larger commercial ports in the United Kingdom. It has nine members who, between them, own and operate over forty ports, accounting for more than 70% of the total tonnage handled by UK ports. This means that UKMPG is an advocate for a significant component of the UK economy, and represents the interests and concerns of its members at both a national and international level. UKMPG also provides a forum for its members to share methods of best practice and innovative ideas on issues such as environment, port infrastructure, and navigation. Our current members are Associated British Ports, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, the Bristol Port Company, DP World London Gateway, Forth Ports, Hutchison Ports UK, PD Ports, Peel Ports, and the Port of London Authority.