As Theresa May announces plans for the completion of the BREXIT negotiations by 2019, the British Port Association has declared that throughout 2018, it will be working to influence the discussions on the issues which will affect business in ports in the future, e.g. changes in Customs regulations and new environmental policies.
Chief Executive of the BPA, Richard Ballantyne, comments “A number of ports, particularly the UK’s network of Roll-on Roll-off ferry ports, are concerned that following the UK’s departure from the Customs Union and the Single Market, new bureaucratic border checks could slow down trade. As phase 2 of the Brexit negotiations begin, we will be pressing the UK Government to ensure that trade facilitation is given a much higher prominence in the discussions”.
Ballantyne voiced his disappointment that the proposed “free ports policy” is not on the government’s agenda for the time being.
It is also a priority of the BPA to ensure that port funding is not threatened, freight transportation costs remain at a reasonable level, and that legislative updates are made to some areas of maritime safety law. For example, the BPA recommends updating UK harbour and shipping legislation to improve safety. According to the BPA, changes should include the definition of certain leisure craft as “ships” and alcohol limits for those sailing non-professional vessels.