The British Ports Association has responded to this week’s government Port Infrastructure Fund allocations, warning that timescales are tight and that more funding is be needed to ensure adequate border infrastructure is ready in time.
With many bids underfunded due to a high demand, some ports now face a choice of whether to proceed with scaled-back plans or quickly finding additional capital at a difficult time. Given the timescales many ports are now in a predicament as to what to do next.
Commenting Richard Ballantyne Chief executive of the British Ports Association, which represents ports that facilitate 86% of UK maritime trade including all the UK’s main roll-on roll-off gateways, said:
On one level the Port Infrastructure Fund allocations are welcome but we understand most projects have not received the full allocations. This means plans could need to be redrawn creating major pressures to get borders ready in time for next year. We will be asking urgently for clarification on the funding shortfalls and what the allocations mean for certain projects.
This infrastructure will be needed irrespective whether there is a Brexit trade deal or not, however their have been delays to the process and finding out what specifications are needed form various government agencies has been challenging. The fund was heavily oversubscribed, and we would urge the government to consider allocating further resources so that all ports can be Brexit ready, across the country.
Whatever government does it needs to be quick. Short timescales, winter and operational pressures and post Covid-19 construction materials and employment supply challenges are also combining to mean that at some locations the infrastructure may not be complete in time for the July 2021 deadline.
The full details of the UK Government’s Port Infrastructure Fund are expected to be publicly announced shortly but individual ports have received responses to their applications this week.
Sea News, December 17