Thursday, September 26, 2019

Brexit Funding for UK Ports Announced by Department for Transport

Up to One Million Pounds For Each of Sixteen Facilities
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that Sixteen ports across England will receive a share of a multimillion-pound funding pot to help their preparations for Britain leaving the European Union. The successful bidders of the £10 million Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) competition, offers ports up to £1 million each to deliver important infrastructure upgrades.

The government has said that the funding could be used for a number of projects including creating more space for HGV parking and container storage as well as improving access for vehicles to help keep traffic and trade flowing smoothly across the border.

The fund comes as part of a £30 million government scheme, announced last month, to bolster ports across England and ensure they continue to operate efficiently post-Brexit. The British Ports Association (BPA) again welcomed the investment, but has suggested and reiterated that further funding might be needed across the ports and logistics sectors in a no deal scenario. Commenting on the funding the British Ports Association’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne said:

“We welcome the funding but note that some English ports have missed out as well as those in other parts of the UK. Also we have asked the Government for funding for UK Border Force infrastructure, facilities and personnel for new customs checks, preferentially away from the border, at a range of port routes and hope this might follow as well as a replacement schemes such as the EU’s TEN-T and fisheries funds.

“British ports have been working closely with the UK Government for the last three years on a range of Brexit scenarios. The industry is as ready as it can be for a ‘no deal’ although it is clear that much of the focus recently has been about mitigating disruption at certain ports, not avoiding it.

“Ports are of course though only one part, albeit an important component, of the logistics chain. We rely on others, freight forwarders, hauliers, agents, Local Resilience Forums Government agencies’ to also be ready for what is an unprecedented level of change potentially coming in with limited notice. Some funding has been made available to these sectors but more could be needed post Brexit, especially for hinterland roads connecting our trading gateways.”

Alongside the £10 million PIRC fund, the DfT has provided £5 million to Local Resilience Forums (LRF), partnerships which are made up of representatives from local public services including the emergency services, in areas with key freight ports to help them build infrastructure improvements and ensure traffic continues to flow smoothly.

A further £15 million will go towards the development of longer-term projects to boost road and rail links to ports and ensure more freight can get where it needs to be faster. This includes a proposal to enhance the Trans-Pennine gauge, allowing for the transportation of freight using multiple types of transport, which will connect East Coast ports with key markets in Greater Manchester and the wider North West. Also included is development work for upgrading road access to Dover, Felixstowe and Southampton ports.

The £30 million funding comes as part of a £2.1 billion government investment to step-up the UK’s preparations for leaving the EU. The successful bidders for the PIRC competition are:

Photo: Felixstowe is one of the recipients of the new funding.