International Navigation Association (PIANC)
COMMENTS ON THE DOCUMENT, "MODERN PORTS:
A UK POLICY".
CHAPTER 2: FACING
Considering the sub-headings under Ports and
Economy, it may be appropriate to insert a small paragraph to
describe the "Smaller ships" and their role in relation
to the Bigger ships as feeders as well as their significance in
transferring freight from road or for that matter rail where appropriate.
2.1.10: Serving the customer"Customers
value viable rail connections as an alternative to congested roads"-
The sentence could also refer to distribution by water, in addition
to rail, as an alternative to road.
2.1.16: Sustainable distributionThere
is reference to "promoting greater use of inland freight".
Does this refer to inland waterways? If so it needs to be qualified.
If not, then this part of the statement is contradictory to other
parts of the document which encourage the increased use of coastal
Under the heading Sustainable Distribution,
could coastal routes be promoted here, as the seaway around our
coast has to be the most sustainable traffic "track"
of them all?
2.4.5: New uses for surplus port sitesThe
reference to Port sites access could include "as well as
inland waterways routes to the hinterland" or similar. This
is applicable to all UK major estuaries/rivers and associated
major ports as well as some smaller ports.
2.6.9: A new course for shipping
This point should be commended.
2.6.11: Inland waterwaysThe reasons
for the loss of inland waterways freight should include the loss
of wharfage facilities due to pressure on waterside land for residential,
or similar non-shipping related, development. This is not always
where the wharf is necessarily redundant although the short-term
revenue from the property development is inevitably higher than
the shipping activity revenue. The lack of wharfage on inland
and estuary locations is now a serious constraint to new traffic
transferring from road to water.
2.6.12: Inland waterwaysWith regard
to the reference to suitable commodities for inland waterways,
it is evident that there is interest and new traffic developments
for commodities outside of the "traditional range" ;
the way this is currently worded rather limits the imagination
The point as to the suitability for traffic
from waterside industry could also be reflected in a later section
on land and strategic planning.
2.6.19: Inland waterwaysThis is a
good example and it is suggested than an additional example be
mentioned in terms of the Manchester Ship Canal. This is not only
UK's largest inland waterway but also has a large proportion of
maritime traffic and therefore is considered very significant
within this context.
3.1.22: Problem portsThe approach
throughout appears to almost omit the small ports and their significance
to the overall aims of distribution and the reduction of road
miles. If it is considered essential that there is to be an integrated
transport strategy developed, then many of the smaller ports should
be recognised and not dismissed.
There are certainly many instances when the
shipping activities have declined so far that other developments
are considered. It is however recommended that in such instances,
even if there is no current demand for cargo movements, that a
cargo handling capacity is maintained in some form, so not stripping
the local communities or towns in the immediate hinterland, of
some access to sea transportation in the future.
This may be done by leaving certain quayside
frontage with road access, and the new buildings set back. There
are a number of examples where this works very well and if the
dock or river is to be used for water related recreation, the
planning of the frontage use can take account of this with say
temporary moorings along that section, still earning in the meantime.
This way the site is not totally sterilised against small scale
shipping activities if needed in the future.
It would be helpful if there were some strategy
developed to assist those small ports which are struggling, not
only in terms of finance but also in terms of management and marketing
towards developing new traffic and opportunities, so more fully
realising their asset. At the end of the day, their asset is part
of the UK's national assets.
Captain H Mitchell
Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping Consultant
International Navigation Association (PIANC) British
National Committee member