Regional ports are helping navigate the route to national growth
Throughout the pandemic, regional ports such as Portico in Portsmouth, have provided capacity and expertise to keep goods moving. As the UK now looks to the future, regional ports also have a key role to play in the economic recovery.
The past year has been tumultuous for everyone, with the world having to adapt rapidly to the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic brought. Shipping has been no exception.
Ports and shipping lines re-configured their operations to keep vital imports and exports moving, to ensure there were no shortages on supermarket shelves, and that important PPE could get to where it was needed.
Portico played a key role in ensuring that fresh produce continued to move from ships to shops, with the terminal's operations director Steve Williams returning to the cranes so that goods kept moving.
As the pandemic recedes, Britain is on track for the strongest growth since the second world war as it stages a faster-than-expected recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic this year, according to the Bank of England.
The bank raised its estimate for UK GDP growth to 7.25% in 2021, up from a previous forecast in February for growth of 5% this year, as the easing of restrictions paves the way for a boom in pent-up demand.
However, with container rates at record levels and the potential of congestion at large ports caused by such a surge in demand, how will the UK keep trade on track? The answer lies in the UK's regional cargo ports, such as Portico.
Industry expert Justin Atkin, Director at logistics consultancy Ragged Edge said: "Shippers are actively re-evaluating their supply chains, in part due to factors including Brexit and coronavirus, but also in response to changing consumer demands around sustainability, and are looking to improve resilience, minimise delays and to reduce their carbon footprint.
"With limited deep-sea port capacity in the UK and a chronic shortage of HGV drivers, short-sea and feeder services from major European ports, direct to the UK's regional ports, offer a compelling solution to this problem."
With a strong track record in empty container restitution in the past 6 months with 10,000 TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) now moved, Portico is ideally placed for feeder and short sea container services from major European ports such as Antwerp, Hamburg and Rotterdam. This means trade can keep flowing, fuelling the UK's economic recovery.
Ben Harraway, general manager at Portico, added: "The speed of processing at Portico is rapid. We eliminate waiting. Our automatic gates will welcome lorries the moment they arrive. All the paperwork can be pre-cleared, so there's nothing to do on-site. The concept of hauliers sitting in their cabs waiting in queues is eliminated.
"Portsmouth is convenient for much of the UK. The M275 goes to our door. The A3 goes direct to London and the M3 connects the Midlands. Our location means the nightmare of circumnavigating London to get your freight where it needs to go using the M25 is gone, and your reliance on long distance road haulage can be reduced".
Portico invites businesses who think they could benefit from a new approach to their supply chains to get in touch, so that their commercial team can discuss the options and demonstrate the advantages of using a regional port. Find out more at porticoshipping.com.