Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group, commented on the UKMPG’s infrastructure concerns referenced in the National Audit Office “The UK border: Post UK – EU transition period” report:

“Issues around the development of the systems and infrastructure to handle new post-Brexit border requirements presents risks to the resilience of EU-UK trade.

“There needs to be an immediate stop to changes in assumptions and specifications from Government so ports can complete facilities. Without a common playing field of approach for cost recovery at Border Control Posts, trade flows will be potentially distorted, risking overloading some routes and leaving new capacity underused.

“The Government must urgently work with industry on these issues – we have the solutions and are committed to making new border arrangements work.”

Summary of the issues raised by the UK Major Ports Group and our members in the NAO report

  • The development of the necessary systems and infrastructure to handle these new post-Brexit border requirements has been a deeply frustrating process for ports.
  • Deadlines – despite contractual commitments placed on ports for their readiness by Government – have been shifted.
  • Government funding for Border Control Posts (“BCPs”) being built on ports themselves has proved inadequate – with ports themselves picking up c. £100m of investment shortfall.
  • The specification of the BCPs has been late and subject to last-minute revisions, all of which has delayed delivery and increased costs. And both ports and customers remain unclear how the costs of these facilities are to be recovered.
  • This situation presents notable risks to the resilience of EU-UK trade flows. Directly it means infrastructure has taken longer to deliver than it should have, plus traders will be less aware of the routes available and requirements.
  • Structurally, having some facilities delivered by the private sector and some by the Government and no clarity on a common playing field across them on requirements and cost recovery risks distorting trade flows, overloading some routes and leaving new capacity underused.

 

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The UK Major Ports Group is the trade body for the UK’s major port operators. It represents nine of the top ten port operators in UK. Our members collectively handle 75% of the UK’s port volumes through 40 ports. These include the largest ports in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. UKMPG members together already invest around £500 million per year in the UK’s ports and related infrastructure.

Current UKMPG members are Associated British Ports, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, The Bristol Port Company, DP World , Forth Ports, Hutchison Ports UK, PD Ports, Peel Ports and the Port of London Authority.

For more information please see http://ukmajorports.org.uk/.

UKMPG: “The UK border: Post UK – EU transition period” report
UKMPG: “The UK border: Post UK – EU transition period” report