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6


Issue 7 2020 - Freight Business Journal


///NEWS


3 >>


smooth and successful flow of freight. Securing


these contracts ensures that irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations, lifesaving medical supplies and other critical goods can continue to enter the UK from the moment we leave the EU.” The contracts will be in place


for up to six months aſter the end of the transition period. They were awarded through


the government’s Freight Capacity Framework, under


which a shortlist of experienced freight operators bid for contracts. It says that they guarantee a


much faster and more efficient procurement process over the four-year life of the contracts. Should they not be required, termination costs would reflect a fraction of the full contract amount. Efforts by the Government


to secure similar capacity in the run-up to Brexit by Shapps’ predecessor, Chris Grayling, were criticised as poor value for


OOCL earmarks larger vessel for Liverpool-Canada route


OOCL is to move its Liverpool operations for its Europe-Canada trade to the port’s new deep-water


terminal Liverpool2, as part of a first step to accommodate a larger vessel on the route. The 5,024teu,


money and, in one case, included a company that was not actively involved in operating ferries. The government acknowledges


the Short Straits routes remain a vital corridor for trade between the UK and mainland Europe and have played a key role this year in maintaining the flow of critical goods into the country throughout the Covid crisis. It says it is working with key local stakeholders and industry to prepare for the end of the transition period.


294m long OOCL St Lawrence will replace the 2,992teu, 245 m long OOCL Belgium from 29 September. OOCL has also confirmed that Liverpool2 will be a permanent call, as part of a rotation including Montreal, Bremerhaven, Antwerp and Le Havre. Liverpool2 is capable of handling


up to two 13,500teu vessels simultaneously. OOCL general manager


operations, Terry Brant said: “OOCL has worked closely with Peel Ports over the past 40 years, and see this new move as a key enabler to help strengthen our overall position in the market. In doing so, it will enable OOCL to continue to play an influential role in offering more competitive and best-in-class services to our customers.”


The government has set out further details of its plans for freeports, saying that the first sites would be open for business in 2021. Following a consultation on


the proposals it has confirmed that sea, air and rail ports in England will be invited to bid for Freeport status before the end of the year. It said that it wishes to deliver freeports as soon as possible and will make further announcements in due course. It also confirmed that will


freeports benefit from


a streamlined planning processes


to aid brownfield


redevelopment and a tax relief package, along with simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods. The government promised an “ambitious new customs model, drawing on international best practice.” It would be flexible and improve upon both the UK’s existing customs arrangements and the freeports the UK had


previously, it said. The Government said it


would also work with the devolved administrations to enable the creation of freeports in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and would seek to establish at least one freeport in each nation of the UK. The


Chancellor of the


Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, who was instrumental in getting the freeports concept off the ground, writing a report while he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Our new freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK and supporting jobs. They will attract


investment from


around the world as we embrace new opportunities following our departure from the EU and will be a key driver for economic recovery as we build back better post coronavirus.” The British Ports Association


responded saying that it welcomed the suggestion that the government was minded to be more inclusive regarding the number of ports that could potentially be designated. The BPA has called for more freeports to be designated than the ten originally suggested. BPA chief executive Richard


Ballantyne, who has been lobbying for a port zoning economic vision akin to the freeports strategy, said: “This is


a welcome development


and by being more inclusive in terms of the number of freeports there might be. The Government can now explore how to better deliver on its levelling up agenda without picking regions over each other. Coastal communities are often in areas of high deprivation


and have also


experienced challenges from the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown so this potentially transformative policy will be welcomed across a range of suitable locations.”


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