Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Two UK Ports Celebrate Government Border Infrastructure Funding

Inspection Facilities to Come On Stream by July 2021
Shipping News Feature

UK – Port management group Forth Ports was celebrating today the UK Government funding announcement in support of new and enlarged border infrastructure at the group's key import/export hubs, Grangemouth, Tilbury and Tilbury2, totalling a £11.7 million tranche of the Port Infrastructure Fund.

Contractors are on site and the new border inspection facilities are set to be approved and operational for 1 July 2021. Early this week, Forth Ports unveiled a suite of tools and dedicated support from the group's in-house Brexit transition support team.

Many ports have been complaining that the funding was insufficient to resolve all the potential problems which they may face post-Brexit, but Forth seem more than happy with their lot, Charles Hammond OBE, chief executive, commenting:

"This £11.7 million funding allocation for new border facilities will complement our existing work with cargo owners, shippers and the wider freight community to ensure that our global gateways stay highly productive and congestion free.

"Harnessing our vast experience and proven performance of handling rest-of-world trade supported by IT backed border and booking systems, an extensive network of ferry and container connections, and excellent onward rail and road linkages to the largest domestic consumer markets, we will ensure that goods continue to flow efficiently across our borders and onward to their final destination.

"Supply chains are realigning as they seek greater resilience and a low carbon route close to market, and our ports are ideally placed to support through our investment in infrastructure, market leading turnaround times and capacity for growth."

Certainly Tilbury is likely to need the extra funds given the expected switch of much RoRo traffic from accompanied to unaccompanied to avoid delays to drivers in transit. For Forth Grangenouth handles 30% of Scotland’s export freight whilst the £250 million terminal which is Tilbury 2 is the UK's largest unaccompanied freight ferry terminal operated by P&O Ferries and the biggest construction processing hub.

The new facility has seen P&O's Tilbury-Zeebrugge RoRo route record 7% annualised growth in the first six months of Tilbury2’s operation, whilst the London Container Terminal at Tilbury has added five new routes in 2020, stretching from north Africa to Norway, with a 35% increase in European trade this year.

Photo: Grangemouth handles 30% of the country’s export box traffic.