24th May 13
The proposed port services legislation just published by the European Commission is ill timed, unnecessary, and potentially harmful and unfair to UK ports.
Richard Bird, UKMPG's Executive Director, said: "UK ports are a real success story with high investment generating jobs and growth. These EU proposals put that achievement at risk. UKMPG will be pressing for the proposal to be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers (as were the two previous attempts at port services legislation). We continue to support competition between ports not, as this proposal would introduce, competition within ports."
Background - Ports' contribution to the economy
As well as handling 95% of the UK's international trade highly efficiently, UK ports are contributing to UK economic growth through improving productivity and investment, with a 50% increase in investment over the previous 5-year period, generating 50,000 new jobs in ports and associated industries.
For more information, contact:
Richard Bird, Executive Director
+44 (0)20 7260 1785
Luther Pendragon Brussels
7th January 13
The UK Department for Transport have recently published an updated version of the Port Marine Safety Code on their website. The Code sets out the key actions which ports need to take to promote safety in their harbour authorities. The Code is supplemented by a Guide to Good Practice and a new edition of this is also now available on the DfT website. Click here for the updated Port Marine Safety Code and here for the good practice guide.
2nd January 13
Economic consultants Oxford Economics have produced a new report on the economic impact of the UK ports sector in 2011, updating their previous studies which used 2007 and 2009 figures.
Their data shows that the ports sector consistently outperforms most other sectors for employment and productivity - for example, between 2009 and 2011 direct employment in ports rose by 5%, while overall UK employment fell by 0.4%. The key measure of labour productivity, GVA (Gross Value Added) per worker, averaged over £67,400, nearly 40% higher than the UK-economy-wide average of £48,400.
In 2011, UK ports are estimated to have supported 391,800 jobs, or 1 in every 80 jobs in the UK (including those directly employed by ports; those whose jobs are created by the port's activity, such as suppliers; and jobs created by the consumer spending of the ports' employees). This was an 8.8% increase on the same figure for 2007. Ports directly and indirectly contributed £21.2 billion to UK Gross Domestic Product (around 0.5% of GDP). This was a 17.8% increase on the same figure for 2007. Clearly ports not only have a significant impact on the economy, but have also proved exceptionally resilient during the recession.
Commenting on the study, UKMPG's Executive Director Richard Bird said:
"This latest independent report shows the ports sector continuing to improve productivity and make a significant contribution to the UK economy despite testing trading conditions. The maritime sector as a whole supports over half a million jobs in the UK economy and contributes nearly £32 billion to UK GDP, with the ports sector accounting for well over half of this. These figures, together with the fact that 95% of the country's international trade moves through ports, show how vital ports are to the UK's economic performance."
Click here to download the Oxford Economics report.
22nd November 12
Speaking at UKMPG's annual Parliamentary reception on 21 November, UKMPG's Chairman Charles Hammond pointed to the huge contribution that UK ports were making to the country's economic growth. Despite the economic slowdown, ports were continuing to invest in key projects such as new container terminals and renewable energy facilities. Finance was being raised commercially at no cost to the UK taxpayer or to the country's public borrowing requirement. However this finance would not continue to be forthcoming if ports were burdened with unjustified regulation. UKMPG also called on the European Commission to act against subsidies which distorted competition between EU ports and to think again about prospective new EU legislation which would just add to red tape.
The full text of Mr Hammond's speech is available here.
1st October 12
The UK Major Ports Group has moved to new premises at 30 Park Street, London SE1 9EZ. We will continue to be co-located with the British Ports Association, Port Skills and Safety and the Chamber of Shipping.
21st June 12
Ports are making a substantial contribution to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions through promoting the transport of goods by the 2 most carbon friendly modes, sea and rail. Ports are also facilitating the development of renewable energy particularly offshore wind and biomass and are making significant progress in improving energy efficiency.
However we have long argued that the UK Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme designed to improve energy efficiency is over bureaucratic, adds significantly to costs and discriminates against ports. While we welcome some of the measures in the recent consultation document on simplifying the CRC, they do not address the fundamental weaknesses of the scheme. Our consultation response therefore asks the Government to replace the CRC with a simpler and fairer alternative as called for by the Chancellor in his March Budget statement.
22nd March 12
For several years UKMPG has been campaigning against the Government's energy efficiency tax, the Carbon Reduction Commitment or CRC. We have pointed out - most recently in a pre Budget letter to the Chancellor - that the CRC is poorly targeted and costly to administer and works particularly to the disadvantage of ports because of the discriminatory way in which port tenants and port transport operations are treated.
The Government has finally recognised the validity of these concerns. In his 2012 Budget statement on 21 March the Chancellor said:
"The Carbon Reduction Commitment was established by the previous Government. It is cumbersome, bureaucratic and imposes unnecessary cost on business. So we will seek major savings in the administrative cost of the Commitment for business. If those cannot be found, I will bring forward proposals this autumn to replace the revenues with an alternative environmental tax."
UKMPG notes that all attempts to date to simplify the CRC have failed and urges the Government to start early discussions with ports and other business leaders about moving quickly to more suitable tax arrangements.
9th March 12
Though it is primarily focused on the passenger railway, the Government's Command Paper "Reforming the Railways" published on 8 March also covers rail freight. The Government recognise the importance of rail freight to the economy and the environment and the 60% growth achieved over the last 10 years. The rail freight sector has also made substantial headway in securing the efficiency benefits now being looked for in the passenger railway which the Government attribute to the competitive environment in which rail freight operates.
UKMPG member ports have played a major role in the renaissance of rail freight through substantial investment in new and improved facilities for transhipping containers, coal and other products onto rail. As a consequence well over 50% of all rail freight now starts or finishes its journey at a port.
Richard Bird, UKMPG's executive director, said "We welcome the positive comments in the Command Paper about the importance of rail freight and its recent achievements, as well as the commitment to continue to invest in the development of rail freight. Ports are also playing their part by investing in new and improved rail freight transhipment facilities at ports. It is essential that rail freight continues to be given high priority in any enhanced partnership arrangements between the train oeprating companies and Network Rail."
30th November 11
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement was delivered on 29 November, accompanied by the publication of two documents of particular relevance to ports: the National Infrastructure Plan for 2011 and the Logistics Growth Review. UKMPG had previously provided input into the DfT-led Logistics Growth Review.
The 2011 Autumn Statement included the announcement of measures to accelerate the Government's programme of structural reforms to infrastructure, and to support enterprise and growth. Among these were a short-term £2.4bn package aimed at improving road and rail networks, and a £1bn increase in the Regional Growth Fund. The Logistics Growth Review included a commitment to review the regulations around the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives in England with a view to easing excessive regulatory burdens on businesses.
Richard Bird, UKMPG's Executive Director, commented: "We are pleased that the Government has put infrastructure at the centre of the growth agenda and has listened to port industry concerns about the need for better connections to ports and for deregulation. It is important that there is rapid delivery on the commitments in the Autumn Statement. Also the deregulation work needs to be extended to cover other sectors which are constraining growth such as onerous and unfair energy regulation at ports."
25th October 11
On 24 October 2011 the Government published an updated version of the national ports policy statement. This sets out the policy framework which the Infrastructure Planning Commission (soon to become the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit) must take into account when assessing port development projects. Smaller projects require the approval of the Marine Management Organisation who are also expected to be guided by the statement. This is an updated version of the earlier draft statement published at the end of 2009 but contains a stronger presumption in favour of port development going ahead.
Commenting, UKMPG's executive director Richard Bird said "The latest version of the ports statement is very much on the same lines as the earlier version published before the last election. We continue to welcome the recognition of the enormous economic significance of ports and the contribution which ports can make to the UK economic recovery. We are pleased to see the additional emphasis being placed on ports' role in the development of the off-shore energy sector. It is however disappointing that once again the Government have failed to co-ordinate the ports statement with the statement on road and rail infrastructure which is due out at the end of the year, since ensuring good connections to ports is a vital part of overall ports planning policy."