Seizing the opportunity to utilise the UK’s diverse range of ports for short sea shipping was the topic of the British Ports Association’s coastal shipping seminar held in London on 29 November.
The agenda profiled bulk and unitised coastal shipping operations around the UK, examining opportunities and challenges facing the sector. Speakers outlined aspirations to drive new business in transporting a variety of cargoes in an efficient and sustainable manner around the UK. The targeted seminar included speakers from a range of ports, shipping companies and freight owners. In comparison with other transport modes, shipping remains an efficient and environmentally sustainable option which the industry is keen to encourage.
Commenting on the importance of coastal shipping and the themes of the event the British Ports Association’s Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, who also chaired the seminar, said:
“The seminar showcased what British ports and shipping companies are doing in the coastal shipping sector and facilitated debate on how to create new business. Existing coastal shipping trades see the transport of a variety of bulk and containerised cargoes to and from UK regions. As was mentioned in the UK Department for Transport’s Port Connectivity Study, coastal shipping is a potentially underused domestic freight mode which deserves further consideration. Waterborne freight transport can also provide environmental benefits and can reduce road congestion and pollution.
The event attracted representatives from almost 50 different organisations from the UK and Europe and it provided a platform for individual ports to highlight what they have been doing, and for shipping companies, freight operators and intermediaries to discuss their business needs and aims. Attendees heard how markets have developed in recent years and the types of cargoes transported in the sector. We looked at the policy and grants regime and discussed whether UK ports and operators are making the most of the current arrangements available to them. We also examined what the future of coastal shipping markets might look like and how operations might change, particularly in relation to autonomous shipping and automated port terminals.”
Freight by Water, the promotional body, who are managed by the Freight Transport Association, also spoke at the event. Alex Veitch, Head of Global Policy for the Freight Transport Association, said:
“Coastal shipping has the opportunity to play an even more important role in the UK supply chain in future years, helping ease the burden on our congested roads and railways. However government needs to help industry join the dots by providing world-class infrastructure linking our ports to the UK transport network.”
Source: British Ports Association