Ahead of this week’s spending review, the British Ports Association (BPA) has outlined the case for targeting transport spending on freight-based projects, to unlock growth in the economy and stimulate the economy post-COVID-19.
The BPA’s policy paper; ‘Gateways for Growth: Backing a Better Connected Britain’, demonstrates that if funding is targeted to address of congestion and bottlenecks around ports, which currently hinder the efficiency of freight journeys, the Government can unlock growth in the economy.
The paper outlines five priorities for port connectivity and growth post-COVID-19:
- Government to recognise the £1.7bn ports invest in their own infrastructure, to the benefit of the UK economy.
- Funding allocated for the recommendations of the Port Connectivity Study, as well as a second, UK-wide report.
- Local and regional planners to recognise the importance of considering freight within planning, and the benefits derived from prioritising this.
- Local authority funding to be stepped up for roads, in line with budget increases for national agencies.
- Vital large-scale national projects to go ahead, but funding must be allocated for smaller scale, but equally as imperative projects.
Commenting, Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Policy and Economic Analyst, at the British Ports Association said:
Ports ask for very little from the Government, but they do rely on investment in modern transport infrastructure. This can often be subject to competing demands; for example, passenger projects are frequently prioritised over the streamlining of freight movements. However, this paper outlines why investment in freight transport infrastructure is imperative.
If the end-to-end freight journey is not able to function as efficiently as possible, the UK’s economic competitiveness will suffer; a consideration that holds even more salience as the UK faces a period of economic hardship and must seek to unlock growth in the economy.
We are therefore laying down the case for Governments – both central and regional – to step up their funding for freight transport connections and build ports into local transport plans.
“We are pleased that the UK Government has announced plans to conduct a Union Connectivity Review, taking a holistic and strategic approach to national connectivity. The BPA will provide a submission to this review and will publish further analysis on Port Connectivity in due course,” the BPA stated.
Sea News, November 25