Weekly Snapshot

Our five minute roundup of key topics affecting UK ports sector this week
Unsuitable attire!

The working week started early for me with travel on Sunday to the North East for visits to Seahouses Harbour and then to the Port of Tyne for the start of an exciting Maritime Innovation Week, which was organised by the Port’s Innovation Hub.

Later in the week the BPA was back in Newcastle for a marine licensing conference with the Marine Management Organisation. My colleague Mark Simmonds gave a presentation at the event and fed back some of the port experiences of dealing with the MMO that our members have provided from our recent licensing survey. Continuing the the NE theme, the BPA’s staff also visited members at Blyth and Sunderland this week.

We were also at the Multimodal exhibition in Birmingham later in what was a slightly bigger event than recent years. This is the main UK show for the freight and logistics industry and a number of ports were exhibiting or in attendance. One of the main events is the annual Multimodal Awards (see some references below) which was made all the more interesting by my own mistake in attending in a tuxedo when the dress code was definitely not black tie, as I found to some embarrassment on arrival!  

For the scavenger in me I couldn’t, unfortunately, manage to fit the free exhibition branded footballs, rugby balls and model lorries in my bag, but a number of ports treated me to some drinks and food on their stands as well as a sponge squeezy mini shipping container! Also a special mention to the Port of Tyne and their gift bag with a generous selection of teas that they handle. It definitely had the event talking!  

Further south the BPA was also at Shoreham last night for the opening of the superb new Port Kitchen! We’ll get back to the policy and trade association business next week, honest!

Finally we have sent our sincere congratulations to PD Ports CEO Frans Cajle who it was announced has been awarded an OBE for his services to international trade. Very well deserved.

Richard Ballantyne 
British Ports Association

Future of Freight

This week, the Government published its Future of Freight plan, establishing Westminster’s vision for the sector based in cost efficiency, reliability, and environmental sustainability. The plan, based predominantly in England, is to identify a National Freight Network (NFN) across road, rail, maritime, aviation, inland waterway, and warehouse infrastructure. Other commitments include freight assessment studies, pushing for freight to be included as a consideration in infrastructure planning, and supporting modal shift.
 
The Government also aims to promote a Freight Innovations Fund (FIF) worth £7 million to encourage the development of new technologies in freight movement. Innovate UK/KTN will be running a partnership engagement workshop on behalf of DfT to identify the scope and design of the FIF, scheduled for Monday 27 June 2022.
 
This Future of Freight plan represents a collaboration between government and industry, with DfT engaging stakeholders during the development process. This includes the Freight Council, on which the BPA sits. A full press release can be read here.
Post-Brexit Customs Changes

Members can’t have failed to notice the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill; the UK government’s attempt to revise the existing Protocol which would, in effect, disapply parts of the UK-EU treaty. Westminster states that the bill will allow them to address problems created by the Protocol, specifically “customs, inflexible regulation, tax and spend discrepancies, and democratic government”. The Government has proposed a series of solutions to these problems, including green lanes for trade with Northern Ireland, which can be read here.
 
Meanwhile, HMRC has announced a number of customs easements to improve the flow of trade at UK borders, including four Safety and Security (S&S) facilitations are due to come into force from 1 July 2022. These measures include removing the S&S requirements for exported empty units, making S&S Movement Reference Numbers (MRNs) optional in the Goods Vehicle Movement Service, and removing the S&S requirements on Merchandise in Baggage, for both import and export. HMRC has also advised that from 1 July 2022, carriers can complete inputs into the GVMS without entering any S&S declaration reference numbers.
Multi-Awards

As mentioned above this week we were at the Multimodal exhibition and there were a number of port winners at the Multimodal Awards dinner. Congratulations to ABP who won the port operator of the year award, Montrose Port who scooped a new port safety award sponsored by our colleagues at Port Skills and Safety, Peel Ports who were recognised for their sustainability work and the Bristol Port Company who won the show’s exhibitor of the year award. Well done to all!

A joint government-industry funded Generation Logistics campaign was launched at the exhibition to industry audiences this week. This is aimed at encouraging the next generation of workers into the sector and the BPA is one of the founder associations, pushing the ports careers angle. The full public launch is next month and we will be in touch with our HR and Communications Groups to discuss this shortly.
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