EU governments should pay for port infrastructure links
The London-based Freight Transport Association said today it's happy the European Union is shaping its ports policy on the key issues of congestion and transportation links, but added it wants it to ensure that EU governments fund infrastructure links, something the FTA says is not happening in the United Kingdom.
EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot last week outlined his vision for the future ports policy when he spoke at the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) conference in Algeciras, Spain.
“We welcome the commissioner focusing on congestion and hinterland connections as a key issue for ports policy,” said Chris MacRae, FTA’s rail freight and global supply chain service manager.
“Shippers in the United Kingdom have been experiencing worsening problems associated with port congestion. Our major container ports are increasingly congested and are introducing measures such as vehicle booking systems, which add to the costs for the haulier, and therefore our shipper members, to deal with their capacity issues.
“Additionally, at Felixstowe an infrastructure ‘surcharge’ has been introduced by the port to fund the improvements to the port’s rail connection which the U.K. government is making the port pay for, as a condition of the planning consent for its expansion.
“FTA is calling on the EU to use its ports policy to call for member state governments to fund onward transport infrastructure for ports — this has always been the role governments have fulfilled, and only recently has the U.K. government let down British business by adding the costs of major rail and road upgrades to port development,” MacRae said.