The UK Major Ports Group (“UKMPG”), the voice for the UK’s largest port operators, has commented on today’s launch by the Government of its Bidding Prospectus for freeport locations in England.
Commenting Tim Morris, CEO of UKMPG, said “We welcome the launch of the freeports Bidding Prospectus. Port operators across the UK are developing ambitious proposals to respond to the freeports opportunity. The UK Major Ports Group and the port operators themselves look forward to working closely with the Government to build ever stronger gateways for the UK’s global trade, boost prosperity for coastal and inland communities and maintain high standards.”
Mr Morris continued “However, potential bidders face a real challenge in submitting the kind of detailed proposals involving a range of different organisations that the Government is asking for. This is particularly difficult at a time when port operators are both working hard to keep pandemic impacted supply chains moving and preparing to mitigate the impact of UK/EU border disruption. Simply put, bidders need more time.”
Turning to other actions needed to drive the most benefit for often hard hit coastal communities all around the UK Mr Morris said “It’s a concern that what we’re seeing today is the launch of a process for England with no clarity on when Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be setting out their intentions. Port operators in these nations want to move forward to. And we must not forget that deprivation is unfortunately widespread in the UK’s coastal areas, not just in around 10 freeport locations. There are good policy measures in the freeports Prospectus that Government must consider applying to all coastal communities.”
For more on our views on what could make freeports a success for the UK see: https://ukmajorports.org.uk/making-freeports-a-success-for-the-uk-major-ports-group-says-what-government-must-do/