British Ports Association

Weekly Snapshot

Our five minute roundup of key topics affecting UK ports sector this week
The Battle of Britain!

Football. It is hard to think of an event that elicits such *cough* enthusiasm as the beautiful game and for good reason. The bonds of the Union itself will be tested today as England take on Scotland in the European Championships with the possibility of either team meeting Wales later on in the tournament. Although, whatever the outcome of the match, it is encouraging to see a hint of normality return to London after many months of sombre isolation, even if there is torrential rain at Wembley!

The same cannot be said of the cruise industry as domestic cruises in Scotland are pushed back in the wake of increasing infections. This is accompanied by the news that UK food and drink exports to the EU almost halved in the first quarter of 2021. The Food and Drink Federation commented that the figures are a result of the twin spectres of Brexit and Covid, as so many things are these days. However, the UK Government did achieve a diplomatic coup this week by signing a trade agreement with Australia, meaning that Aussies can enjoy Scotch whiskey while we enjoy beef imports and... Tim Tams (basically Aussie Penguin chocolate biscuits)! Not sure who comes off better there?

So, while our social lives look to improve over the upcoming months, if not our waistlines, it may take a little longer for normality to return to the industry. But, as David Beckham himself once said, “That was in the past – we’re in the future now”. Wise words indeed.

Rob Coniam
British Ports Association

Maritime Honours
We were delighted to see a number of people from the maritime sector included in the list of Queen’s Birthday Honours, including the BPA’s recently elected Chair, Neil Glendinning (CEO of Harwich Haven Authority) receiving an OBE for services to the transport of freight, particularly during the Covid-19 response.

Also congratulations to David Knott of Belfast Harbour and the NI Fisheries Harbour Authority, Georgina Carlo-Paat of Ilfracombe Harbour, Robert Angira of Hutchison Ports, Lesley Robinson the CEO of British Marine and Martin Jones in the Brexit directorate at the DfT. All very well deserved.
On the home front!
This week the Prime Minister welcomed the independent report of the 'Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform' looking at regulation stemming from Westminster, some of which will have UK coverage.

As part of the work the BPA met with one of the review’s leads, ex-Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers MP, and the taskforce for our own session earlier this year. We are very pleased to see that the final report includes, amongst other things, recommendations to repeal the Port Services Regulation, which we pushed for. This, you may recall is EU legislation which applies to larger ports previously on the EU’s TEN-T list and we are discussing with government when this might be removed.

One key recommendation from the report is for the UK to drop it's 'precautionary principle' when approaching regulation in favour of a 'proportionality principle', that reflects the risk and the desired outcome. The precautionary principle is often associated with environmental decision making so we do have a strong interest in this area.

Meanwhile the domestic cruise restart in Scotland has once again been pushed back as the Scottish First Minister announced that there would be no changes to the Covid-19 Levels in Scotland this week. She also said that at the next review period at the end of the month it is reasonable to expect that most parts of Scotland will maintain their current Level for another three weeks. Ministers recently confirmed that domestic cruise can only restart when all of Scotland reaches Level 1 (at present 14 council areas are at Level 2).
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland welcomed their first cruise call of the season this week and Wales are expecting their first call this weekend. Meanwhile, a handful of ports in England are continuing to accommodate domestic cruise calls.
International Maritime Organisation

It was an intense week of deliberations at the IMO's 76th meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76), with an agenda packed full of discussions that would determine the continued trajectory of the IMO's initial Greenhouse Gas strategy.

The lengthy discussions were often met with heavily divergent views, particular regarding the potential disproportionate impacts of new targets. A compromise was eventually mey with the following measures adopted in line with the IMO's target of 40% by 2030. This was a huge sigh of relief for many delegations!

Adoption of a package of short-terms measures

This includes a set of technical and operational measures for ships, namely the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicators (CII), amongst others, that will come into effect in 2022. Followed by the proposal of a 1% year carbon reduction until 2023, a further yearly 2% between 2023 and 2027, with reductions until 2030 to be further considered as part of a review by 2026.

Adoption of a workplan to progress with mid and long-term measures

This workplan is a phased approach and will consider mechanisms such as the establishment of market-based measures (MBMs) to support carbon intensity reduction. Phase 2 of this plan consists of the assessment and selection of mid and long-term measures to be further developed by Spring 2023, with dates for phase 3 on the finalisation of measures to be confirmed.

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