Ports championed in economic recovery plan

The British Ports Association's economic recovery plan focuses on three key areas to kickstart economic activity in the UK. Photo: British Ports Association

Industry Database

A new economic recovery plan highlights how investment in ports can play a part in the UK's fight to get back on its feet in the wake of the first COVID-19 peak. Published by the British Ports Association (BPA) for the UK government, 'UK Ports: Coronavirus Economic Recovery Plan' outlines a  2020 and beyond framework for recovery which  focuses on three key areas to kickstart economic activity.

In the short term it proposes continued medium-term cash flow and business support; in the medium term it suggests a massive scaling up of the UK's infrastructure ambitions including a Green Maritime Fund for sustainable development; and in the long term it envisions a bold and broad-based inclusive Freeports and fast track planning policy. Richard Ballantyne, chief executive at the BPA, said:   "These packages offer a path to prosperity in the long-term while promoting sustainable growth and helping ports to realise their potential in what is likely to be the most challenging economic climate for a generation. Ports have the ambition to lead the country to a new future.

"A key message is that we want energise our ports by igniting their potential to fire up the economy. Let's make it happen." Considering the impact of COVID-19 on port  revenue, measures outlined within the plan including a government factoring service.

This would allow ports and other businesses to raise funds in the short term. The BPA also highlights how a deferral of business rates backed by central Government would also free up capital to help cash flow, and notes that support of skills development for business retention is important. Measures outlined within the plan for infrastructure investment include a UK Infrastructure Bank and a Green Maritime Fund to drive sustainable development and help stimulate growth consistent with Net Zero aims.

The BPA will also shortly be publishing a paper that explores how to overcome the barriers to ship-to-shore power. Noting that the UK government is in the process of developing a UK-wide strategy on Freeports, the BPA said it has identified several imperative conditions of the UK Freeport model to unlock the untapped potential of the UK's coastal communities by drawing investment into manufacturing and logistics It has urged the government not to limit its ambition to the previously suggested 10 site proposals, stressing there is a real danger of the leaving some regions behind by limiting the scope.

The BPA has also asked that government reclassifies 'port zones' with improved planning, fiscal and regulatory status.

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