The UK Major Ports Group (“UKMPG”), the body that speaks for the gateways for 75% of UK trade, today called for an integrated freight strategy for the UK to boost trade. Good connectivity – road, rail and digital – of the UK’s ports is critical to being a confident, independent nation on the global trade stage.
In responding to the UK Government’s consultation on the next phase of England’s road strategy UKMPG highlighted that the UK must develop a cohesive strategy across transport modes for the key freight transport corridors. It is these corridors that enable so much of the UK’s trade with the world. Only by doing so will the UK capture the potential to increase the productivity of its industry and supply chains and drive more environmental sustainability.
Tim Morris, Chief Executive of UKMPG commented “Major ports are the UK’s predominant gateways to the world, handling more that 90% of the nation’s trade in goods both exported and imported. But the success of these ports is highly reliant on the efficiency of their connections to the rest of the economy. There are still too many instances where, for example, it can take 9 hours to move cargoes 90 miles. What is required is to take an overview of each of the key freight corridors that enable the UK to trade with the world, rather than take a largely siloed approach through planning by mode of transport.”
Mr Morris continued “Taking a more coordinated approach not only gives great opportunities to make transport of freight more reliable and efficient, it should also give greater environmental sustainability. In a time when the UK is striving both to re-establish itself as a confident independent player on the global trade stage and make step changes in key environmental areas like air quality, this must surely be a priority.”
The UKMPG looks forward to the Department for Transport’s upcoming Port Connectivity Study and the National Infrastructure Commission’s freight study as opportunities to grasp this coordinated approach. Nationally significant freight supply chains for international trade need to be considered on a national basis.