December 6 2013 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL
Friday, January 18, 2013
An MEP has pledged to fight any new Euro regulations that would hit trade at Britain’s top container port.
Geoffrey Van Orden visited the Port of Felixstowe to see construction of the new £40 million rail terminal and discuss legislative proposals in relation to the EU’s forthcoming Ports Policy Review.
“As far as EU regulation is concerned, it is important that nothing is done to make Felixstowe less attractive as a hub port in competition with continental European ports,” he said.
“At the moment there is over capacity in European ports. But the problem isn’t lack of investment but attracting more traffic – and that is dependent on the health of the wider economy and also the state of the infrastructure that serves the port and its customers.
“We are now seeing progress on this.”
Good progress is being made on the new rail terminal, which will take up to 750,000 lorries a year off the A14 by 2030 when the terminal is working to capacity. The main works are expected to be completed in the next couple of months with the 750-metre long sidings operational by mid-year.
“Industrial growth in the British economy needs to be supported by an efficient rail and road network and the port of Felixstowe plays a vital role in this,” said Mr Van Orden.
“Our efforts to secure ‘EU funding’, which I always regard as British taxpayers’ money recycled through Brussels, has been an important contribution – £5m out of a total cost of £40 million – to the new north rail terminal at the port.
“We have also supported the upgrade of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail freight route that will save an estimated 500,000 lorry movements.
“Nevertheless, road haulage will remain vitally important and the continuing challenge is the A14 and dualling the final stretch of the A120 – that would be of enormous benefit to local people, to commuters and to business.”