British Ports Association

Weekly Snapshot

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

In a week made memorable by queues at petrol stations and warnings that labour shortages could mean that British consumers are without staples such as pigs in blankets on Christmas day, the BPA is greeting #WorldMaritimeDay with gratitude for seafarers for continuing to play their fundamental role as the backbone of the supply chain – despite the recent strain.

Ministers have warned that issues caused by unprecedented demand for fuel could last another week or so and manufacturers have reported their slowest output since February 2021, during lockdown. As readers will know, this has largely been driven by a shortage of drivers. Government has since announced a package of measures, including training up to 4,000 people as new HGV drivers to help to tackle skills shortages.

Thankfully, in the meantime, the BPA has not run out of gas. Our focus this week has been on a wide-ranging brief comprising the party conferences, preparations for COP26 and port business confidence.

Phoebe Warneford-Thomson
British Ports Association
Port Business Confidence Survey

The BPA has prepared a 90-second survey to gather data on the current levels of business confidence within ports. The survey is open to all ports, not just BPA members.

Results will help communicate the industry's high-level needs to government and will be completely anonymous.

We will close the survey for analysis EOD on Monday 11th October. 
Annual port fish landing data

The MMO has now published the 2020 UK Sea Fisheries Statistics report.

In 2020, UK vessels landed 623 thousand tonnes of sea fish into the UK and abroad with a value of £831 million. Compared to 2019, this is a slight increase in the quantity of sea fish landed and a 16 per cent decrease in value landed.

As usual, Peterhead tops the leaderboard for fish landings, followed by Lerwick, Newlyn and Fraserburgh.

See here for graphs representing;
The full report and data tables can be accessed here
Ports and Procurement
This week we circulated a summary of a recent meeting on procurement which has drawn some interest from members as the UK Government is currently considering changes to rules now the UK is no longer bound by EU laws. 

One of their proposals previously consulted on was to consolidate procurement regimes for all sectors into a new framework. We were mindful of this, because this could potentially bring large port contracts (over a specific value) within the scope of the more onerous rules currently laid out in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, instead of where they are currently covered in the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016.

While there is no definitive outcome from this consultation yet, the Cabinet Office held a session with the utilities industry at which it helpfully suggested that following feedback, the government is not likely to integrate the two regimes.

Although this is still not confirmed government policy it would keep certain larger contracts issued by ports under similar arrangements as now. We are of course following this closely and you can read the BPA’s summary, which includes contract thresholds, here.
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