Wednesday , 20 March 2019
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The Port of Felixstowe has dropped its proposed charge for booking peak period slots for vehicles under its Vehicle Booking System (VBS). Under VBSs, hauliers have to book an hour slot during which they are allowed to enter the port, in order to manage congestion and to reduce turnaround times. Previously Felixstowe had proposed charging hauliers £2 (US$4) per slot during peak periods (off-peak to be free), but has now decided not to charge for any time slots.

FTA welcomes Felixstowe fee cuts

The Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK road hauliers’ association, welcomed the move. Its head of global supply chain policy, Christopher Snelling, said, “The changes [at Felixstowe] should reduce the cost of the scheme to the users of the port without impairing its effectiveness in reducing congestion. Southampton is still charging £1 per peak booking – hopefully it will be able to follow Felixstowe’s lead and remove this charge.”

The FTA has also welcomed the publication of the Department for Transport (DfT)’s Interim Ports Policy Review paper. However, the issue of inland connections – which the FTA considers to be the most important facing the development of the UK’s ports – has been held over until the full statement is released in the autumn, so that the policy will fit with the Government’s response to the forthcoming Eddington Report on Britain’s transport needs.

Christopher Snelling commented, “Hopefully it is a good sign that the Government has held back its decisions on inland connections, to coordinate with its response to Eddington. The Eddington Report was clear about the significance of international gateways to the future of the UK economy, and so we hope this will inform DfT’s thinking in that area.”

The FTA wants the Government to use the autumn statement to set out its policy for funding the enhancements to publicly owned, open access transport infrastructure that are needed with port growth.