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UK Ports Face Greater Uncertainty Due To COVID-19 Than Brexit

UK ports face greater uncertainty due to COVID-19 than Brexit

London, United Kingdom (PortSEurope) May 21, 2020 – The British Ports Association (BPA) has released new data showing that just 36% of UK ports feel confident about their business outlook over the next 12 months and 86% reported either substantial or severe impacts on shipping and customer activities. The data indicates that whilst most ports have not taken advantage of state support measures, 55% are not satisfied
with the mechanisms and funding available. The BPA has published the results of a survey completed by a wide variety of ports to determine the impact of COVID-19 on port businesses. Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Policy & Economic Analyst at the British Ports Association, said: “Several months into the Coronavirus pandemic, it does not come as a surprise that 86% of ports report a substantial or severe impact on their customer activities and that just 36% feel confident about the year ahead. Those with particular concerns are ports involved in passenger activities, the oil sector and manufacturing-related cargo and fish landings. The results also show that 44% of ports have seen difficulties obtaining PPE and that support for furlough has been the most popular Government support measure, so we were glad to see the Chancellor’s recent Job Retention scheme extension announcement. Even in a time of crisis, ports must ensure all services are maintained, such as cargo facilities, security arrangements and safety systems, often with a full staff. However, ports are not only seeing a substantial impact on their customer activity and obstacles to commercial operations but facing requests for assistance from port users too. Ports have quite literally helped keep the country supplied during the pandemic.” UK ports perform a critical role for UK supply chains, so government must ensure there are measures in place to ensure ports can play a crucial role in the UK’s economic recovery from this crisis. Therefore, the BPA will be publishing a set of sector-specific proposals in an Economic Recovery Plan for government shortly, to highlight our proposals for how ports can assist Britain in its recovery from potentially what could be the deepest recession since records began. The BPA represents over 100 members, who own and operate over 400 ports and terminals, facilitating in one form or another 86% of port tonnages and 85% of all vessel calls. We also represent all the UK’s passenger ports and all the main energy gateways, 19 of the top 20 fishing ports and an extensive network of ports and harbours that facilitate over one million leisure craft and yachts. Though both member and non-member ports and terminals fed into this survey, including professionals from all the UK’s largest ports and groups. The survey goes into more details in the the following categories: confidence, customer activity, operational challenges, Assistance Requested of Ports by Users and Tenants, Brexit Transition Period, Construction and Financial assistance. The report can be accessed here. Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2020.

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