Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240
WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2001
240. Let me bring you back to my point about
Barcelona. It was very clear to the Committee that one reason
a city the size of Barcelona was able to keep re-inventing itself,
why it has one of the highest GDPs, why it has very good employment
rates, is because the amount of money put into the portand
I am not talking about roads and rail, though those were in additionwas
largely coming from both regional and central government. Are
you really saying to us that one of the problems British ports
face, particularly major British ports, is that so many of them
are owned privately and the amount of investment has not been
going in which is needed for renewal and for modernisation to
maintain the high standard?
(Mr Graveson) With all respect to you, you have actually
answered the question you posed earlier. They are getting the
support from regional and national government, are they not, and
we are not in this country?
241. That is very helpful. Is the new document
a sufficient response to the challenges which are facing the port
(Mr Graveson) Yes, it is a sufficient response, but
it really does need resources. Like all of these things, without
adequate resources, the document in itself will not solve the
242. Do the witnesses have a view on whether
the document considers sufficiently the role of short sea or coastal
shipping and the potential to expand that within this country?
(Mr Linington) We have always felt that there is a
big contrast between Britain, where we have been quite laggardly
in developing policies to expand the use of short sea shippingand
one of the thrusts we have tried to put forward in our evidence
is that there needs to be much more innovation in the form perhaps
of looking towards more fine-tuning of the freight facilities
grant, other measures to improve inter-modal flow of freightand
the general flow of European policy. We felt generally that the
port infrastructure has not been geared to benefit from the way
that policy is developing.
Chairman: You have been very helpful. I am very
grateful to you. It may be that you might like to go away and
think about anything else you would like to let us know quite
quickly. Heaven forfend that I should in any way encourage you.
Thank you very much indeed.