The PPR covers ports in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Among the main themes for consultation are national, regional and local policy; national capacity requirements for different types of cargo; inland and coastal connections; environmental issues; national and international competition; governance and accountability; the role of smaller ports; and planning procedures.
Dr Ladyman said: “International trade in goods accounts for nearly 30% of our GDP, and ports are overwhelmingly the gateways to the global distribution network. They are crucial to our success in a global economy. … [The PPR] should inform, and set the right limits for, future government involvement in what is already a thriving, largely commercial sector.”
The review comes at a significant time for the UK ports industry, with its biggest single operator, Associated British Ports, the target of a £2.4bn (US$4bn) takeover bid by a consortium led by US investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The minister also announced the outcome of a review of the management of ports in local authority ownership. There are 65 municipal ports in England and Wales, which between them handle 14 per cent of total traffic. The review’s main recommendation was that local authorities should consider setting up municipal harbour management committees, including external stakeholders with relevant expertise.