Release Date: 15 June 2007
Release ID: 743
The Freight Transport Association says that the Department of Transport needs to use its forthcoming Ports Policy Paper to accept responsibility for funding inland transport links from ports, as happens in all other developed nations.
FTA says that the Government should use its forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and accompanying documents to set out its policy on the funding of key rail and road infrastructure upgrades required to improve links with the ports and to reduce congestion and the costs which go with it. The proposals in the Planning White Paper designed to streamline and hasten the completion of major infrastructure projects, including road, rail and ports, should also be implemented.
FTA's views are contained in a new paper titled 'UK port development' published today (Friday 15 June). The paper sets out what kind of port development the UK requires and what the Government should be doing to help that happen.
The UK's economy, and the supply chain that supports it, is undergoing substantial change notably in respect of imports from the Far East and the large numbers of containers in which those imports arrive. It is estimated that the growth in that container traffic across the world will double in the period between 2000 and 2010 and the impact of that will be felt at UK ports, and with the road and rail infrastructure which serve them. In his report on transport's role in sustaining the UK's productivity and competitiveness Sir Rod Eddington warned the Government that shipping demand is forecast to outstrip existing and currently anticipated UK ports capacity, and without further expansion delivery costs could increase by some £140 million per annum beyond 2030.
FTA says that the UK needs greater ports capacity and that need is now becoming urgent. But it also needs to be supplied in a way which ensures economic competitiveness. Efficient ports operation impacts positively on consumer prices and on the speed and reliability of delivery. Equally congestion at ports and the links to them results in extra, and avoidable costs and poor service for the end consumer.
The Government is responsible for the provision of road and rail links - it must recognise this obligation and invest in infrastructure itself rather than make demands on port developers and their customers to fund such links.
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