Protecting ports vital to national interest post-Brexit
Stoke-on-Trent South MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport, Rob Flello, says the government must keep the ports moving after Brexit or risk disaster.
He was speaking after the APPG had heard a presentation from Nicholas Scott-Gray, Chief Executive of Montrose Port Authority (MPA). Mr Scott-Gray outlined the challenges facing his port and many others like it across the UK, saying that wrongly handled, Brexit could have dire consequences for the industry. He said, “Tariffs, quotas and new customs clearance regulations could cause significant difficulties.” He explained that the time taken to move goods through the port was crucial to its competitiveness. “If we slow down customers will go somewhere else,” he said.
Rob said, “More than 95% of our imports and exports pass through our ports which directly employ almost 120,000 people, not to mention those tens of thousands more who rely on their success for their livelihoods. If Brexit means increased friction at our ports, much of that trade will simply go elsewhere. There will be implications for everyone in the country, not just in terms of the products we buy but also for all those businesses which rely on raw materials and finished goods coming in and out.”
The MP, who is also a member of the Transport Select Committee went on, “The government has to be aware of how vital it is that Brexit negotiation outcomes ensure ports like Montrose keep moving at the slickest, smoothest pace possible. Any added delays as a result of our leaving the EU could be catastrophic. One would hope the government is collating a list of the key priorities for the negotiations, and that the viability of our ports is right there near the top of page one.”