A message from Maritime Minister Robert Courts
Mr Courts is a barrister by profession and practiced for 12 years in Oxford, focusing in the main on personal injury and clinical negligence and specialising in trading standards prosecution. Mr Courts is himself a recreational diver and has a keen interest in maritime environment. He is a member of the Maritime Conservation Society.
Throughout the pandemic, our ports and maritime industry has once again shown its mettle. It has provided a lifeline for the entire country – maintaining the flow of critical supplies, such as medicines, to ensure that we do not go without.
UK Ports Yearbook 202104When, quite rightly, we asked most people to stay inside, maritime and port heroes worked tirelessly to keep the country running. I am so grateful to the thousands of merchant sailors who have been central to our efforts to equip medical staff with the protection and tools they need, as well as to ensure we all had a good supply of food and other essentials.
But some of the sacrifices these heroes have been forced to make are simply unacceptable. There are currently more than 1.2 million seafarers at sea. 400,000 of these have overrun their contracts and are due to come home – including over 1,000 from the UK.
To end this injustice the Government hosted a conference in London which secured international agreement on how to repatriate stranded seafarers at the earliest opportunity, and secured commitments that participating states recognised crew members as key workers who should be accorded special consideration when crossing borders, allowing them to reach their destinations unhindered. From the UK we created a two-way street with willing partners overseas: helping foreign seamen to leave the UK, and our crews return. It was this Government who first created a joint statement recognising this special status and paving the way for crew changes on ships around the globe and across the sector becalmed by Covid. We have worked hard supporting employers to repatriate more than 1500 British mariners already, while helping more than 15,000 foreign seafarers to get home.
Alongside this immediate focus on crew well-being, we’re also looking to the horizon to make sure that the sector is strong and resilient.
We’re investing millions through our Ports Infrastructure funding in getting our ports all around the country ready for Brexit – so that they’re prepared for increases in freight handling and trade and can seize opportunities from our new international trading relationships. We have also recently procured freight capacity of over 3,500 HGV from four operators across nine different routes between the UK and EU to support the flow of critical goods into the UK at the end of the transition period.
I want to reassure all our partners across the sector that we will continue to work tirelessly with you to secure the resilience of our ports and strengthen our position as a world-leading maritime nation.
Robert Courts, previously the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of the State for the Environment, Theresa Villiers, replaced Kelly Tolhurst, Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood, who left her position as Maritime Minister in September 2020.
“Welcome to the 2020/2021 UK Ports Directory”
As I write this, we are still fighting through the Coronavirus pandemic. It has been an enormous challenge for the UK and our economy, and I want to begin this foreword by offering my heartfelt thanks to the ports and maritime sector for the outstanding way it has responded to the crisis.
While it has been essential that most people stay at home, many heroes in the maritime industry and supply chain have been working round the clock to bringvital goods into and across the country. Everyone from harbour masters to stevedoreshave been valiantly carrying out these tasks, helping to keep the people of Britain supplied with food, fuel and other necessities during these difficult times.
While the response to Covid-19 continues, and there are still more difficult days ahead for us all, it is crucially important that we work together to help restore normal operations. I want to assure ports that this government is committed tosecuring your future and building your resilience. As a former marine surveyor by profession, I understand many of the issues ports are facing and I will ensure your needs are heard within Government.
It gives me confidence to know that we have one of the most professional maritime sectors in the world, and before the pandemic began, there was much to celebrate within the industry. In September last year, London International Shipping Week celebrated the success and strength of the UK’s ports, highlighting the need for competitive and integrated port infrastructure in a changing world. We also granted millions of pounds to ports across the country to increase their resilience ahead of the UK’s exit from the EU and in the North East, the Port of Tyne saw the first Maritime 2050 Innovation hub being opened.
Despite the impact of Covid-19, I believe that we have a great deal to look forward to. For example, the Government aims to create up to ten freeports which will boost business
All major manufacturers, premier construction, civil engineering, energy, renewable, gas and oil OEM'S, consultants, experts and ancillary suppliers are listed on www.ukports.com
Increasing numbers of users and members totalling to date 100,000, creating 20,000 extra jobs, reducing companies’, suppliers and their development costs by 30% and securing contracts for our users and members worth £15 million by 2021.
Publications currently available are the annual UK Ports Directory 2020 & shortly The UK Ports Spring Edition.
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