Optimism for UK Ports as Peterhead is Redeveloped

25th September 2018

Despite the confusion around how Brexit is going to play out, and the uncertainty about what a post-Brexit world will look like, Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, was optimistic and upbeat in his speech about the future of British ports in mid-September.

Addressing a parliamentary reception hosted by the BPA (British Ports Association), Mr Fox praised the industry for the key role it plays in the UK economy, and outlined the work that his department is doing to prepare for new trade deals around the world after the UK leaves the European Union.

The speech came as a £52 million redevelopment project at Peterhead Port, which started in 2016, nears completion. The project aims to turn Peterhead into a fully integrated and modern fishing hub, and the work has included extensive dredging and infilling as well as the design and construction of a new fish market.

The Peterhead redevelopment project will create a new 180-metre deep-water quay – along with a reclaimed 30,000 square metre working area – both of which will enable the NorSea Group to provide expanded logistics services to the subsea, decommissioning and logistics industries.

The Geos Group supplies vessels with marine fuel at NorSea’s Peterhead terminal, with both ex-pipe and ex-rack facilities, and is expecting an increase in volume as the new facilities open and the port gets busier.

In his speech at the BPA’s parliamentary reception, Mr Fox said: “Ports are a vital part of this country’s economy. Not only are they important economic entities in their own right – acting as hubs for jobs, industry and innovation across industries far broader than just the maritime sector – but they also play a vital role in facilitating imports and exports, moving 95% of our trade in goods, and in maintaining our international competitiveness as a global trading hub. 

“They handle almost 500 million tonnes of freight each year – an £8 billion contribution in Gross Value Added to the UK economy. They employ more than 100,000 people, supporting families across the country.

“Ports are, quite simply, Britain’s gateway to the world – and they have a brilliant future at the forefront of our global economic ambitions as Britain leaves the European Union. We know how important it will be to preserve vital existing trading links with our current partners in the EU. And for the first time in four decades, we will determine our own independent trade policy, able to seize the opportunity to establish new economic relationships across the globe.

“Our experts in the Department for International Trade are working hard preparing for negotiations on new trade agreements with key partners including the United States, Australia and New Zealand. We are also considering the potential of new regional partnerships such as accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would allow the UK to further establish its presence in the world’s fastest growing regions.

“Boosting our international trade will bring jobs and prosperity to not only the places where goods are loaded and unloaded, but to the wider economy too. And to make sure this happens it is vital that our ports can match the best facilities in the world and adapt to new trends and technologies – I know that you have invested significantly to improve capacity and capabilities and will continue to do so.”