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Ports : UK Ports looking at new business opportunities post-pandemic

The British Ports Association has today published a toolkit for ports and maritime businesses to maximize their commercial opportunities and consider new marketing tactics.

Within the last 18 months, Brexit and Covid-19 successive lock-downs have challenged in many ways the Ports & Maritime sector. In addition, decarbonization, automation, and digitalisation trends are transforming the business landscape and customer behaviours and requirements, faster than expected.

The BPA, which represents a range of ports and harbours that collectively handle more than 86% of maritime activity in the UK as well as an array of other businesses, is keen to help ports navigate this new landscape successfully, ensuring that they can continue to grow and develop.

The Association is therefore working with independent port consultant Zeina Sawaya-Melville to encourage ports to revisit their approaches to business development, marketing, and customer care.

Commenting on the toolkit, author Zeina Sawaya-Melville said:

“Ports are today facing a new world and new challenges. Brexit is a fast-changing trading relationship. The pandemic has accelerated the 4th industrial revolution. UK ports and maritime operators are at a business crossroads. It is critical for operators across the maritime sector to consider if their strategy is still fit for purpose.

We can already see some ports pro-actively adapting and investing as there are certainly some exciting business opportunities to be seized.

Britain's Ports Are Jammed, and Brexit Is Around the Corner - The New York Times

The Toolkit provides guidance on what to do when re-thinking a port commercial strategy, from assessing the current commercial approach, to planning the execution, to monetizing through marketing and customer care.

I truly hope that the toolkit will stimulate fresh thinking where needed.”

The ‘Seeking Opportunities in Troubled Waters’ commercial and marketing toolkit is designed with ports and maritime operators, of all types and sizes, in mind.

Alongside the toolkit the British Ports Association is also organising a commercial and marketing strategies workshop for ports and maritime operators, led by Zeina Sawaya-Melville, to discuss this area of their business. This takes place on 18 June 2021.

The British Ports Association Chief Executive, Richard Ballantyne, suggested:

Ports are our gateways to the world but also have other local business interests. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy but we think there could be opportunities for a post-pandemic bounce so this project is designed to enable ports to look at what possibilities there might be as well as how to improve their existing business management practices.

PD Ports unveils new digital platform to promote the River Tees and boost international competitiveness

On another side, PD Ports, Statutory Harbour Authority for the River Tees and owner and operator of Teesport, has launched a new digital platform aimed at promoting the unique strengths of the river and supporting the Government in delivering its ‘levelling up’ agenda for the North.
The new platform, which will be a vital tool for river users, potential investors and stakeholders to access a wealth of information about the river’s world-class operations, has been in development since late 2020 as part of the Statutory Harbour Authority’s continued commitment to maximising investment and job opportunities across the Tees Valley.

Frans Celje, PD Ports CEO, explained why the new digital hub will help accelerate the Company’s future vision – to make the River Tees the UK’s most successful port region by 2050 – whilst also supporting future trade growth and strengthening Teesport’s position as the Northern Gateway for international trade.
“The River Tees is the lifeblood of the Tees Valley and a leading gateway for international trade, providing 24/7 access to global markets and linking the region to key industry connections around the world,” said Frans.
“The new website will showcase the unique strengths of our region to inward investors, demonstrate the world-class infrastructure and unparalleled connectivity we have at Teesport as well as promote job and training opportunities in order to drive social value in the Tees Valley.
We have seen that a collaborative approach is a key to enhancing the global competitiveness of the Tees Valley. We look forward to continuing working alongside our fellow river users to further develop this platform and, in turn, drive socioeconomic betterment for the Tees Valley.”
Julie Underwood, Executive Director of International Trade at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, offered her backing of the project from the initial planning stages and was delighted to see the platform come to fruition.
“PD Ports has delivered an invaluable tool in the new Teesport Website and it certainly reflects the enormous asset the Port is to the Tees Valley and the wider North East,” said Julie. “It presents the scale of the port, and all the businesses utilising this facility in a very engaging way, demonstrating the value of the River Tees to the continued prosperity of our region and the people who work and live here.”
Throughout the process, PD Ports regularly engaged with key businesses and stakeholders across the River Tees, offering updates on the project as well as inviting stakeholders to take part and create a free company profile to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise that sits along the banks of the River Tees.

Richard Brooke - Commercial Director

Richard Brooke, Commercial Director at Augean Plc, said, “Augean is a key stakeholder for Teesport businesses and users in providing waste treatment and disposal services of hazardous wastes, including dredged contaminated sediment, at its Port Clarence facility. The new Teesport website really does showcase the best of class infrastructure, facilities and capabilities of Teesport and we are delighted to be involved.”
One of the busiest and most progressive ports in the UK, Teesport contributes in excess of £1.4billion to the UK economy every year and supports over 22,000 jobs in the supply chain
About BPA
The British Ports Association represents the interests of over 100 port members, covering more than 400 ports, terminal operators, and port facilities. The UK ports industry plays a key role in the country’s economy as 95% of the UK’s international trade – imports and exports – is carried through British ports.
UK ports also handle more than 60 million international and domestic passenger journeys each year. The UK port industry is the second largest in Europe, handling around 500 million tonnes of freight each year. UK ports directly employ around 115,000 people.

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