U.K. report suggests trust ports lag private sector
A report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport said the trust port sector in England and Wales “falls short” of their private sector counterparts.
Trust ports are independent statutory bodies, governed by unique legislation and controlled by an independent board rather than shareholders. More than 50 ports in England and Wales are trust ports including Dover, Milford Haven, and the Port of London Authority.
The key findings of the report, prepared by independent consultants Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), were:
* The trust model retains a legitimate role within a mixed ports sector.
* Larger trust ports operate on a sound commercial basis but their financial performance sometimes falls short of the private sector.
* Trust ports should do more to identify and account for use of their profits — what the report terms their 'stakeholder dividend.'
“The study represents a valuable contribution to the debate on the trust port sector. The government will bring forward new guidance for trust ports in England and Wales later this year, following further discussion with the industry based on these recommendations,” said Shipping Minister Stephen Ladyman in a written statement to Parliament.
Meanwhile, the DOT reported that the U.K.’s total freight traffic in 2006 fell 1 percent compared to 2005 to 580.2 million tons. Inbound traffic rose 2.2 percent to 362.3 million tons, while outwards traffic declined 5.5 percent to 217.9 million tons.
Grimsby and Immingham maintained its position as the country’s leading port with 64 million tons (up 5.4 percent over 2005), followed by Tees and Hartlepool with 53.3 million tons (down 4.3 percent) and London with 51.9 million tons (down 3.5 percent). The Port of Felixstowe, the U.K.’s largest container facility, was in eighth place with 24.4 million tons.