The British Ports Association is looking to examine emerging threats to and opportunities for British ports through its new Port Futures project, labelled Horizon.
The rolling programme of activity will address key issues for ports over the next 50 years, including infrastructure and skills, grouped around four key drivers of change, including Technology & Automation; Climate Change and the Environment; Politics, Regulation and the Law; and Social and Economic change.
BPA said that individual projects around key emerging challenges for ports will be launched under each theme. The outcome will be a rolling programme of recommendations for Government, feeding into initiatives such as Maritime 2050 and the Industrial Strategy.
“Today’s world is marked by rapid and at times unpredictable change, and as an industry we are keen to play our part in shaping that change as much as possible and being ready to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” Mark Simmonds, Policy Manager at the British Ports Association, said.
“The programme will focus minds across industry and government on key long-term challenges, such as what port infrastructure will be needed to accommodate the vessels of the future. Will the current trend towards ever-larger ships continue? Or will autonomous vessels herald more but more numerous traffic into our ports?,” Simmonds added.
Ports carry 95% of the UK’s trade and as key parts of the logistics chains and important economic hubs in their own right, this programme will inform the Government’s own futures project, Maritime 2050, launched at London International Shipping Week in September.
In a separate statement, the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) called for an integrated freight strategy for the UK to boost trade.
In responding to the UK Government’s consultation on the next phase of England’s road strategy UKMPG highlighted that the UK must develop a cohesive strategy across transport modes for the key freight transport corridors.
“What is required is to take an overview of each of the key freight corridors that enable the UK to trade with the world, rather than take a largely siloed approach through planning by mode of transport,” Tim Morris, Chief Executive of UKMPG, said.