Drewry conducted a research resulting to some key factors that will make a port resilient and robust through all weathers, such as:

  1. Productivity and efficiency – fundamentally, the success of any port will remain underpinned by the competitiveness it offers to customers both on the water and inland;
  2. Active role in supply chains – A compelling proposition to customers has to be more than just the traditional role of goods handling. Ports can play a vital role in creating and realizing shared value for as proactive links in broader supply chains as a whole;
  3. Logistics zones – A modern major ports is much more than a point of transit. It is the home to a range of other economic activity and value addition. A particularly significant opportunity is port-centric logistics, realizing both economic and environmental benefits. To maximise the potential for port-centric development models, the right planning processes have to be in place to unlock the ambition and capital of the port operator;
  4. Digital platforms – the modern port is increasingly a gateway for data as well as goods. Digital platforms can realise major value through providing better visibility and increased supply chain efficiency – both contractual and physical;
  5. Hinterland connectivity – The value of the UK’s ports to the economy is already considerable, as it reached GBP 9.7 billion in 2017, but this value and maximizing the growth ambitions of the UK’s port operators is largely dependent to how well ports are connected to the major inland economic and population centres.

According to Drewry, the above features are based on safe and sustainable operation. In addition, these characteristics can be achieved through partnership between ports, customers, supply chain partners and governments.

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Recently, a report was calling on the UK Government to grant special economic status to airports and seaports, in order to stimulate international investment in a post-Brexit Britain, to promote regional growth centred on key UK transport hubs. The possibility of a no deal Brexit could cost the UK billions in export earnings in key markets.

What these trends mean and how Strong Ports can be delivered will be discussed at a breakfast roundtable being held on September 10 by the UK Major Ports Group for port CEOs, the UK’s Maritime Minister, Chinese Government representatives, major infrastructure investors, global traders and academics.

Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group concluded

As an island nation with 95% of the UK trade arriving or departing by sea, we have always relied on our ports. Brexit and uncertain times make Strong Ports more vital than ever for the U.K.