Forth Ports comment COVID-19 and Brexit – Nationally resilient infrastructure

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the UK’s vulnerabilities to the fore. However, breakdown presents an opportunity for breakthrough to create a more resilient UK through COVID-19 recovery, writes Charles Hammond, chief executive of the Forth Ports Group.

With the end of the Brexit transition – or negotiating – period six months away, the need for purpose is clearer than ever.

Having just completed the construction of a new £250 million Brexit-ready and COVID-19 compliant freight ferry terminal – Tilbury2 – at London’s major port, the opportunities are boundless.

But in order to deliver cathartic and lasting change, we need resolute purpose from the UK government. Similar to the vision to establish the net zero commitment, the country needs a national resilience strategy.

What do I mean by this? We need a long-term strategy underpinned by in-depth analysis that examines a range of weaknesses, from the frailties of our supply chains, future skills shortages to the residual capability required to maintain critical supplies – whether medical or industrial equipment – in times of extreme need.

A realistic look at the country’s Achilles’ heel(s) in the face of a variety of headwinds, from geopolitical factors to natural disasters. All backed up by sustained action to address identified weaknesses.

Amidst the terrible human impact and long-term economic consequences of the coronavirus epidemic, one of the few upsides of the current lockdown has been an improved environment and wholesale commitment to tackling climate change, and a focus on the efficiency and resilience throughout supply chains.

Greater flexibility in the workplace through harnessing the use of technology, reducing fuel consumption and the widespread examination of commercial space will remain a focus for businesses going forward.

These issues have been well discussed, yet the resilience of complex continental-wide supply chains has received far less attention . . . . . . . . continue reading the article on the Material Handling World website