All Parliamentary Parties Maritime & Ports Groups meetings: Mike Robarts


Your Association continues to be a presence at the All Parliamentary Parties Maritime and Ports Groups (APPMPG) meetings in Westminster’s committee rooms. The APPMPG allows MPs and House of Lords (HoL) to meet with delegates from the maritime sector to discuss various items of mutual relevance. This is extremely important to us, especially with the proposed EU ports regulation still looming and the ever-present threat of competition in pilotage. Delegates regularly attending include the Department for Transport, Trinity House, the Chamber of Shipping and individual members, Trade unions, British Ports Association, UK Major Ports Group and ports executives and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The last sessions until the Parliament recess have included presentations on the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). James Cross of the MMO gave an overview of the remit, capability and improvements in its services standards. He pointed out the efforts the organisation had made to support better regulation, most recently through the Coastal Concordat. The MMO oversees the licence, regulation and planning of various UK coastal marine activities. To improve users access the MMO has recently invested in an IT platform and secured a number of new byelaws from the European Commission to assist Local Authorities for areas under 12 miles off the UK coast.

Sir Alan Massey of the MCA presentation gave an overview of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s diverse operations. As mariners these are well known to us as giving educational and training support for seafarers, vessel safety and flag inspection. The MCA has contributed considerably to fishing industry safety initiatives, fishing constituting a hazardous occupation. The MCA is responsible for coastguard operations recently modernised. It concentrates on environmental standards enforcement and the promotion of the Red Ensign. The MCA still wants to evolve a more attractive ship register to take advantage of increasing tonnage,
and there are indications that change is needed in some working codes and regulations to maintain a competitive edge.

Alongside Lord Greenway, Jim Fitzpatrick MP has now been elected as Chairman of the group. Jim Fitzpatrick has been Under-Secretary of State for Transport. After the formation of the present Government and with Parliament in session there have been two recent meetings, at which there were presentations by two UK major ports and their developments and an introduction
to by the present shipping minister

John Goodwill MP.

The Port of Dover and Peel Ports spoke to the group about their respective port projects and investments. The Port of Dover is currently developing the BRIDGE project which will see investment in the two cross-channel ports of Dover and Calais. This will create extra capacity for road haulage and rail freight moving between the two ports.

The project includes investments in integrated port planning for internal road networks, holding areas and handling freight moving in the port as well new berths for the modern passenger/RORO ferries currently being handled and possible future investments. Dover port explained the opportunities this could bring, not only to the port but also to the local town and the port community.


Peel Ports introduced the Liverpool
2 Norther Powerhouse project.

The Peel Ports Group see value in attracting the largest containerships and their cargoes to their new container port, which will interface with the Manchester Ship Canal and the warehouses in the industrial Northwest and which will also serve consumer demand for manufactured goods from the region’s large towns and cities. The project not only includes the development of the new container terminal, but deals with the way the Manchester Ship Canal can assist in a new ways of handling logistics, port-centric and inland distribution. There was discussion of the difficulties of East to West coast rail networks and the already congested freight routes. Peel Ports were pleased to announce the recent contract for Biomass to serve UK power stations.

The APPMPG’s most recent session was a presentation by the shipping minister John Goodwill MP. He showed that over 95% of goods are shipped by sea and outlined the importance of this which creates millions of jobs in the UK economy from those directly employed in jobs connected with sea transport, port operations to logistics and services to the shipping economy. He mentioned that he is part of team looking after the trust of the historic ship M.V Coronia which took part
in the Dunkirk evacuation in WWII.

He has started to visit ports and recently attended the port of Southampton, where he toured a large containership and the ship’s berth in the terminal.

When taking up his post in government he said he had four main items on his agenda, the first of which is to secure cross channel services and mitigate recent unacceptable disruption. He said how the Prime Minister had talked with the French President over the matter and that the UK had sent

further security fencing to Calais. Secondly, he wished to ensure that

the UK shipping industry remains internationally competitive, a position further supported during London International Shipping Week 2015, by the maritime growth study and by the MCA report on the UK flag, all of which must be supported by action. The London International Shipping Week 2015 is still seen as one of the most important maritime events of 2015, a high number of key players attending from international shipping. Thirdly, an aim of most concern to the Association as well as the ports groups is the proposed EU ports regulation. John Goodwill has been an MEP and has useful experience at the European Commission which could be beneficial to ports during passage of the regulation through the Commission. Fourthly, he speculated on the possible movement of the regulation, adding that total removal of it is unlikely and urging us in the UK to be pragmatic. His main view is that the UK should support the Rapporteurs proposals and minimise their impact,which is the best the UK can most realistically achieve.

Leave a Reply

UK Maritime Pilots' Association
European Maritime Pilots' Association
Internation Pilots' Association SITE SPONSORS
Navicom Dynamics
OMC International