News: Ports call for pro-trade UK policies

The UK Government must raise the priority of trade and ports in a post-Brexit world, particularly in the allocation of infrastructure funding, said James Cooper, chairman of the UK Major Ports Group, at the group’s annual reception in Westminster.

Mr Cooper, who is chief executive of Associated British Ports, said the Government must also ensure the best possible access to international markets, minimise disruption at international borders to the flow of cargo and people, and secure new trade deals with the rest of the world as soon as possible. 

Britain is an island nation that depends on trade for its prosperity, he said. “The ports industry looks to the Government to introduce expressly pro-trade policies.”

Shipping minister John Hayes, who voted for Brexit, said trade had always been the lifeblood of the country, pre-dating European Union membership, and it would continue to be so.

“The overwhelming majority of what we want, desire and, sometimes, need is brought in through our ports and ports will continue to be vitally important,” he said. “I think this will grow post-Brexit.”

He praised the willingness of ports to invest, and the dynamism of the industry, which he said equipped it to deal with change and invest accordingly.

“Ports and shipping are vitally important for the whole of our country’s interests. My pledge is that I will defend and work in pursuit of the interests of this wonderful maritime sector.”

Published by Port Strategy. Photo credit: Amanda Slater