The British Ports Association (BPA) has outlined a sustainable growth agenda for 2021. The BPA represents 86% of UK port freight activity. While the coronavirus pandemic and its worldwide impact has inevitably taken up the focus in 2020, the BPA is now keen to participate in the Government’s widely supported ‘green recovery.’
The BPA also intends to focus its efforts on promoting the value of British ports as the Brexit transition settles in, and international trade markets recover with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The BPA’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, commented: “In the short term, keeping the industry resilient and ports open could mean getting essential workers at ports up the queue just behind health workers, the clinically vulnerable and the elderly, in terms of the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.”
He went on to explain what the BPA planned to focus on during 2021, including its environmental footprint and supporting the Government’s carbon neutral targets. He believes that coastal shipping has been a neglected area of policy over the last ten years, and a renewed focus on this will be part of their sustainability work.
The BPA is looking to appoint a sustainability advisor to head up the current team and oversee the energy transition agenda. Mr Ballantyne also points out that shipping is the most environmentally efficient form of freight transport, and highlights the benefits of using sea freight forwarding services to reduce congestion on land routes:
“With the UK’s departure from the EU, there is also an opportunity to have a fresh look at freight support grants which have been woeful in both uptake and allocation in terms of coastal shipping. We will be looking at how, in certain circumstances, options to take goods off congested land routes onto ships can help support the sustainability agenda.”
As international trade markets continue to recover, British ports and the maritime sector are preparing for another year of change and readjustment.
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