Government hands £1.2m cash boost to key ports ahead of Brexit

Brexit-ready: Port of Felixstowe Picture: PORT OF FELIXSTOWE

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The ports of Felixstowe and Harwich are being beefed up in readiness for Brexit on October 31.

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The government has announced a GBP1.24m injection in the two sites to bolster their infrastructure – including providing more space for HGV parking and container storage. Vehicle access facilities and signage is also being improved to help keep traffic and trade flowing smoothly across the border at the ports, which are both owned by Hutchison Port Holdings, whose parent company is based in Hong Kong. MORE – What are the top food items surrendered at Stansted airport security?

The two ports are among 16 successful bidders for the GBP10m Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) competition, announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) on September 26, which provides each port with up to GBP1m to pay for the upgrades. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the maritime ports were “fundamental” to the UK’s success as a global trading nation, and also to people’s everyday lives, bringing vital goods into the country. “This timely investment will support ports across the country in their work to boost capacity and efficiency, ensuring they’re ready for Brexit and a successful future,” he added.

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The fund is part of a GBP30m government scheme, announced last month, to bolster ports across England and ensure they continue to operate efficiently post-Brexit, the DfT said.

The DfT has also invested GBP5m in Local Resilience Forums (LRF) in areas with key freight ports, including one in Essex to improve infrastructure around Harwich. These are made up of public services representatives, including the emergency services, and are aimed at helping the ports build infrastructure improvements and ensure traffic continues to flow smoothly at the border. A further GBP15m will go towards the development of longer-term projects to boost road and rail links to ports and ensure more freight can get where it needs to be faster, government said.

This includes development work for upgrading road access to Dover, Felixstowe and Southampton ports.

The GBP30m funding is part of a GBP2.1bn government investment aimed at preparing the UK to leave the EU.

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