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Port Connectivity: England

Volume 639: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2018

I am today publishing the Government’s report on port connectivity, entitled “Transport infrastructure for our global future: A Study of England’s Port Connectivity”.

This country’s ports are a modern success story. At present around 95% of all goods entering and leaving Britain are moved by sea and the port sector directly contributes £1.7 billion to the UK economy. Once factors such as supply chains are considered, the port sector’s economic contribution to the UK is estimated to be £5.4 billion per annum.

The role ports play in facilitating trade and driving economic growth is only likely to increase. As an island our ports are fundamental to our global success as an outward-facing trading nation.

Ports are investing many billions of pounds in their own infrastructure to ensure larger ships and volumes can be accommodated, and so that England continues to be a key destination for global trade. It is therefore vital there is appropriate capacity on our inland transport network, to and from our international gateway ports, to meet demand.

As part of a wider commitment, Government are making investment totalling over £60 billion in this Parliament alone to improve our transport networks as a whole, including freight connectivity.

This connectivity supports the movement of everything to and from our ports which are vital to our everyday lives from providing fuel to our power stations to generate electricity for our homes, to transporting the produce to our supermarkets so we have food to eat.

“Transport infrastructure for our global future: A Study of England’s Port Connectivity” sets out our vision for how we can continue to grow a thriving English port sector1 and how collaboration and innovation by Government and industry can enhance the trade, economic and productivity benefits delivered by ports.

The report has been developed with input from Network Rail, Highways England, the port and wider freight industry, and its customers. In doing so the study has looked at the current challenges and opportunities for port and freight connectivity, and makes specific recommendations which the Government and industry can work together to achieve.

A copy of the study has been placed in the Library of both Houses and is also available on, together with the supporting regional case studies report on connectivity.

1 Ports policy is fully devolved to the Scottish and Northern Ireland Governments. In Wales, responsibility for fishing ports only was devolved to the Welsh Government but from 1 April 2018, powers in the Wales Act 2017 will saw further devolution to include all ports wholly in Wales, other than reserved trust ports (Milford Haven is the only one of these) for which the UK Government retain responsibility. An overview of Milford Haven’s connectivity is included in the supplementary case study document for information, but the recommendations are not intended for implementation in Wales.