Categories: British Ports Association, Europe, PortsmouthPublished On: 12.07.2022404 words2.3 min read

Port operators demand funding to cover ‘white elephant’ border facility

Portsmouth International Port said it was required by the Government to create the £25 million site which remains unused.

Photo issued by Portsmouth International Port of the new border control post built to handle inspections on animal products and plant and forest products coming from the European Union

The operators of a UK port have criticised the Government for requiring it to create a £25 million “white elephant” border facility which stands unused after Brexit rules were postponed.

Portsmouth International Port said it had to create the border control post (BCP) to handle inspections on animal products and plant and forest products coming from the European Union.

But after the Government announced that physical checks on imports had been postponed until a new target operating model (TOM) is put in place at the end of 2023, the BCP at the Hampshire port has been left unneeded and unused.

Docking bays at the new border control post built to handle inspections on animal products and plant and forest products coming from the EU (Paul Gonella/PA)

It had been expected to go into operation on July 1, operated by 67 members of port employees.

Trading standards staff and government officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha), would also have been required to check consignments.

n future, the TOM is expected to use technology to streamline the movement of cargo at UK borders with physical inspections required for “high-risk” products only.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council, which operates the port, called on the Government to cover the authority’s £7.8 million shortfall from creating the facility as well as ongoing running costs.

He said: “The most serious issue is the phenomenal cost the council has had to absorb.

“It is a highly specialised facility, with limited use except for the purpose it was built.

“As a council we have been left to foot the Government’s bill, when budgets are already stretched.

Richard Ballantyne, British Ports Association chief executive, left, and Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council (Paul Gonella/PA)

“We followed their requirements, made sure this would meet their deadlines, and now we are faced with an empty BCP for the foreseeable future and liable for £7.8 million plus running costs . . . .

. . . . continue reading the article on the Shropshire Star website here

Port operators demand funding to cover ‘white elephant’ border facility