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Robert.Jervis_43227 Oct 02

UK announces £200m fund for ports to deal with post-Brexit strain

"A welcome step in ensuring that this capacity can be maximised and UK supply chains can be more resilient"
The UK Government has announced a £200 million in funding to build new port facilities in a bid to accelerate preparations ahead of its departure from the European Union customs union.

"Today, the government is ramping up its preparations for the end of the transition period with the launch of a £200 million fund for ports to build new facilities," the government said in a statement.

Ports that have the space to build new facilities including warehouses, control posts and traffic management systems will be invited to apply for the funding.

"With just three months to go until the end of the UK transition period, businesses need to prepare now for the new procedures that will come into place whether or not we reach a trade agreement with the EU, so that we can seize the significant opportunities that lie ahead," said senior minister Michael Gove.

"We have listened to businesses and the border industry and will continue to work with them to deliver not just a fully operational border at the end of the transition period, but also the world's most effective and secure border within the next five years. The launch of this £200 million fund will help us do just that," he added.

Tim Morris, CEO of UK Major Ports Group, commented:

“There is significant port capacity around the coast of the UK for handling freight flows to and from the EU. Today’s announcement is a welcome step in ensuring that this capacity can be maximised and UK supply chains can be more resilient.

"Time is short and it is vital that UK businesses prepare for new border arrangements. We will work urgently with the Government on the all-important detail and related regulations.”

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association (BPA), said:

“We welcome this fund and the focus on preparing port infrastructure for what will need accommodate a significant change in our trading relationship with the EU. It’s clear that without support there would not be the capacity to deal the new customs and borders requirements. We therefore welcome this scheme which importantly will be open to all port operators across Great Britain.

“The clock is definitely ticking and a lot of work still needs to be done but this will help overcome a significant hurdle. We will continue to work with government to help shape a border strategy that works for the UK’s freight sector.”

The BPA noted that while the fund is open to all types of ports it is expected that Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) operators will have the most interest in applying to use this scheme. It explained this sector has the most to do to adapt to new requirements which will come into existence when the EU completes the Brexit transition period.

Where infrastructure is not best situated at ports, the government has allocated an additional GB£270m to build inland customs facilities.

The deadline for applications is midday on 30 October, with successful bids announced shortly after