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Brexit is not yet done: logistics industry needs answers

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Brexit is not yet done: logistics industry needs answers. Image: Pixabay
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In response to the Withdrawal Agreement has received royal assent, Elizabeth de Jong, Director of Policy at FTA comments:

“While FTA is pleased to see the Withdrawal Agreement has received royal assent – this will provide businesses with greater clarity on short-term UK-EU trade arrangements – ratification of the deal is only start of the process. We call on the Government to answer critical questions about our future trading arrangements with the EU after the Brexit transition period.

“FTA has already been in contact with the new administration with a list of vital questions that urgently need answering, so that the planning and testing of new trade procedures can begin. These cover issues including the exact processes and types of formalities required for goods moving across the borders, and the new systems, accreditations and training needed to make this happen successfully. While changes in the way borders operate and in export and import formalities are to be expected, FTA is calling on the government to prioritise the smooth flow of goods and seek to minimise frictions, red tape and costs logistics companies may face under a new agreement.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, recently suggested a hardening in the government’s approach to Brexit, and that industry has had more than enough time to prepare.

Ms de Jong continues: “Businesses have not had three years to prepare. Whilst discussions regarding the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU have been happening since the referendum in 2016, there has not been sufficient detail released for the logistics industry to prepare. FTA is asking the government to include logistics in every step of the way – from the definition of the negotiating mandate to implementation of new rules – to ensure any new trade and transport arrangements will work in practice.”

Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

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Prioritise logistics or risk supply chain chaos, FTA tells UK Brexit negotiators

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Prioritise logistics or risk supply chain chaos, FTA tells UK Brexit negotiators. Image: Pixabay
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If the UK is to continue to trade efficiently with the EU, its biggest and closest market, there are six key areas the UK’s negotiators and government need to prioritise in the opening stages of talks with Europe about their future trading relationship, according to FTA, the business organisation which represents the logistics industry.

As Elizabeth de Jong, FTA’s Policy Director, explains, failure by the UK government to prioritise the key areas outlined in FTA’s new policy blueprint, “Keeping the UK and the EU Trading”, could have a devastating effect on the UK’s highly interconnected supply chain, as well as creating a knock-on effect that will hamper the UK PLC’s future productivity and the country’s economy as a whole:

“While the UK is setting out its parameters for the future relationship with the EU in Brussels, it is vital that the needs of the logistics industry are front and centre of any conversations,” she says.  “UK PLC is reliant upon a highly complex, interconnected supply chain, and if the needs of those responsible for moving goods and services to support the country’s economy are not prioritised, the effects could be devastating for the supply of vital products to shops, schools, hospitals and manufacturing.  Delays to deliveries could well cause out of stock issues and shut down factories operating “just in time” production.  The logistics industry needs to be engaged from the start.

“The risk of disruption at the borders must be mitigated to ensure that businesses can continue to operate efficiently and effectively,” she continues.  “It costs more than £1 a minute to operate an HGV – so lengthy delays at the border could add significant costs to the price of goods, driving up prices and fuelling inflation.

“Trade facilitation measures are needed to reduce the impact of additional border requirements and red tape and help reduce the threat of delays and added costs.  There are a number of simplifications and agreements we are pressing negotiators to deliver which could mitigate many of these threats for our industry and our economy. The need for physical checks should be reduced and any which are required should be take place away from the border.

“Logistics needs to know now what procedures and processes will be used to cross borders, to have time to test and feedback on proposals, and then time to install and train staff. The detail our members need is not available. Complex new systems cannot be delivered overnight without interruptions to the existing supply chain, even with the best will in the world.

“There is a substantial customs agent shortage and member states and the UK government need to urgently address this by giving support, guidance and funding.  Sufficient co-funded training should be provided for those new to completing customs declarations, as well as for those handling a significant increase in declarations and other new administrative requirements.

Speaking on behalf of FTA’s membership, Ms de Jong confirmed that there are other key arrangements which must be clarified if all modes of transport are to continue to cross the UK’s borders effectively:  “Existing arrangements for road, air, sea and rail connectivity must be formally agreed soon or the impact on the availability of goods our society and the economy relies upon will be catastrophic.  And to support this, the ability of UK workers to cross borders easily must be protected – goods cannot move without a human interaction, leaving vehicles stranded at borders if extensive immigration checks are carried out.

“Logistics is a massive sector that’s vital to UK PLC, directly impacting the lives of more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. It is a flexible, highly adaptable industry, which stands ready to support the government as the UK moves towards a new economic relationship with the EU. But government needs to prioritise the needs of logistics in the first round of negotiations, so that we have time to adopt and adapt to the future arrangements to keep Britain and the EU trading after the transition period. December is only a few months away, and we need months not minutes to prepare.”

With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.

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EIB supports refurbishment of Port of Ystad to accommodate climate-friendly vessels

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EIB supports refurbishment of Port of Ystad to accommodate climate-friendly vessels. Image: EIB
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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a SEK 445 million (EUR 41.75 m) loan agreement with the Municipality of Ystad. The port in the southern-Swedish town is a busy connection point to the Polish Port of Swinoujscie and the Danish island of Bornholm. The financing will be used to expand the quays to accommodate new, more environmentally friendly, LNG vessels of over 240 meters in length, which will start operating next year.

The project aims at increasing the capacity and upgrading the Port of Ystad facilities in order to accommodate larger ro-pax vessels. Works include the construction of two new, deeper, ferry berths at a new pier located in the outer port basin, with associated facilities in reclaimed areas located to the east of the new berths. It also consists of dredging works in the existing outer basin of the port, the construction of a new breakwater south of the existing eastern breakwater, with a new reclaimed platform for future port activities expansion and the extension of the breakwater at the western part of the port.

The project is expected to improve the climate performance of the port. Measures undertaken in this sense include the improvement of on-shore power supply for berthed vessels, and a reduction of emissions by manoeuvring vessels due to easier berthing.

“Ystad is a key connection point for tourism and transport in Sweden.” says EIB Vice President Thomas Östros. “As the climate bank of the EU, the EIB wants to provide finance to projects that seek to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, while keeping business going and stimulating sustainable growth and job creation. This project is spot on in all of those senses.”

”With this investment, Port of Ystad will soon be well prepared to further consolidate its position as the third largest ferry passenger port in Sweden.” added Björn Boström, CEO of Port of Ystad. “Now, in an even more environmentally friendly way.”

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Maritime Administration announces more than $280 million in grants for Nation’s Ports

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Maritime Administration announces more than $280 million in grants for Nation’s Ports. Image: Wikimedia/ Ken Winters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced that it has awarded more than $280 million in discretionary grant funding through the new Port Infrastructure Development Program.  This funding is designed to improve port facilities at or near coastal seaports.

“Ports are gateways to the world and port infrastructure investments will improve the regional economy, increase productivity and economic competitiveness, and create more jobs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports efforts by ports and industry stakeholders to improve facility and freight infrastructure to ensure our nation’s freight transportation needs, present and future, are met.  The program provides capital financing and project management assistance to improve port capacity and efficiency.  Of the 15 projects that were awarded grants, six are located in Opportunity Zones, which were created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work more directly with America’s ports to enhance their facilities,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.  “The grants awarded will ensure that these facilities are operating at their highest, most productive capacities.”

The United States relies heavily on its maritime services and infrastructure.  Our ports are an unsung economic boon, directly and indirectly providing countless jobs for Americans.  Improving these facilities benefits the American economy and increases the capacity and efficiency of our transportation and supply network nationwide.

A complete list of grant recipients is below:

Anchorage, Alaska

Port of Alaska Modernization Program (awarded $20,000,000)

This grant will be used to support the construction of a new petroleum and cement marine terminal.  This terminal, a key component of the Port of Alaska Modernization Program, will support the transfer of refined petroleum and cement from bulk carriers to onshore pipelines and storage facilities.  This project also promotes energy-efficient trade throughout southcentral Alaska while increasing the facility’s overall efficiency.

Long Beach, California

Alameda Corridor South Access: Terminal Island Rail Junction Project (awarded $14,500,000)

Located at the Port of Long Beach, this grant will be used to improve the capacity at the Terminal Island Wye rail junction by constructing and replacing rails and siding that will improve the efficiency of rail operations.  The intended rail enhancements will increase the longevity of the resulting infrastructure.

Los Angeles, California

Port of Los Angeles Multimodal Freight Network Improvement Program: Fenix Container Terminal Intermodal Railyard Expansion and Modernization Project (awarded $18,184,743)

The grant will be used to increase the capacity of the existing on-dock railyard by adding 11,500 linear feet of track.  This project will improve the terminal’s rail capacity by 10 percent while also creating utility corridors and draining systems that will minimize the impact of storm-related damage.

Cape Canaveral, Florida

Port Canaveral Cargo Berth Rehabilitation and Modernization Project (awarded $14,100,000)

This grant will be used to bring the facility into a state of good repair by completing several construction projects that will improve its resiliency.

Miami-Dade County, Florida

PortMiami Cargo Yard Resiliency Improvements and Fumigation and Cold Chain Processing Center Project (awarded $43,928,393) (Opportunity Zone)

This grant will be used to supplement PortMiami infrastructure improvements to upgrade drainage and resiliency methods, along with the reorganization of cargo containers.  The project will also construct a state-of-the-art fumigation and cold chain processing facility.  This project is located in an Opportunity Zone.

Savannah, Georgia

Container Berth 1 Realignment (awarded $34,600,000)

The grants will be used to realign the Port of Savannah’s easternmost berth to enable the berth to receive 14,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container ships.  The three-component project consists of demolishing, rebuilding, and deepening the berth to allow vessels to take full advantage of the adjacent navigation channel.  The project will enhance the port’s overall speed and efficiency of processing containers.

LaPlace, Louisiana

Globalplex Multi-Modal Connections Project (awarded $13,410,662)

Located at the Port of South Louisiana, the grant will be used to add multimodal connections and enhance the operation efficiency of Globalplex, a public port with a 335-acre maritime industrial park.  The project consists of five construction components which, upon completion, will promote exports and improve the state of good repair and resiliency of the complex.

Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth Port Logistics Hub 2020 Revitalization and Expansion (awarded $10,500,000) (Opportunity Zone)

Located in an Opportunity Zone, the grant will be used to fund the construction of a rail-served warehouse and rehabilitate more than 1,700 linear feet of failing wharf walls at multiple berths inside of the port.  The project also includes the addition of an on-dock rail and construction of a new roll-on/roll-off deck and supports the expansion of existing port operations.

Harrison County, Mississippi

Port of Gulfport Access Project (awarded $15,760,000) (Opportunity Zone)

This grant will be used to improve the roadways leading to and from the entrance to the port, which serves all freight and military cargo.  These improvements will promote exports and improve the resiliency of the pavement on local roads.  This project is located in an Opportunity Zone.

Cleveland, Ohio

Port of Cleveland’s Dock 24 and 26 Master Modernization and Rehabilitation Project (awarded $11,000,000) (Opportunity Zone)

Located in an Opportunity Zone, the grant will be used to rehabilitate two of the port’s main docks, which promote regional exports and improve operations and safety activities.

Toledo, Ohio

Port of Toledo Intermodal Project (awarded $16,000,000) (Opportunity Zone)

The grant will be used to reconstruct and upgrade the dock at Midwest Terminals Facility 1 at the port, as well as to develop a liquid transloading facility.  These projects are part of the port’s 10-year capital improvement plan, which will restore the docks’ structural integrity and promote efficient energy trade.  This project is located in an Opportunity Zone.

 

Charleston, South Carolina

Wando Welch Terminal Wharf Toe Wall and Berth Deepening Project (awarded $19,986,000)

The grant will be used to construct an underwater retaining wall and deepen three berths at the terminal to enable the facility to handle larger container ships.  This project complements the ongoing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to deepen the navigation channel leading to the terminal.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Avery Point Public Oil Docks Redevelopment (awarded $17,600,000) (Opportunity Zone)

This grant will be used to fund Phase 1 of the Port of Corpus Christi’s plan to refurbish docks at the Avery Point terminal that is used by a number of the port’s customers to transload petroleum products.  The project will double the capacity of Oil Dock 3, enabling the port to meet the growing demand for berth space to support exports of refined petroleum products.  This project is located in an Opportunity Zone.

Houston, Texas

Bayport Terminal Intermodal Expansion to Meet Demand Project (awarded $21,840,000)

The grant will be used to develop 1,000 linear feet of green space site into a wharf at the Bayport Terminal at the Port of Houston.  This development includes installation of crane rail to facilitate the ability of existing cranes to operate on the newly developed wharf space.  This project will enable the terminal to handle 2.4 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container ships annually.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Agricultural Maritime Export Facility (awarded $15,893,543)

Located at the Port of Milwaukee, the grant will be used to develop an under-utilized parcel of land at the port into an export facility for agricultural commodities.  The project promotes exports and energy-efficient trade.

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