Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Dr Merv Rowlinson (FUS 10)


  I submit the following ideas as a contribution to future shipping policy. The rational is that the selected five areas of trade are worthy of further feasibility studies in the context of a freight shift from road to water (coastal/shortsea shipping). Not only would this prove a significant contribution the "Sustainable Mobility" strategy but also provide opportunities for UK shipping policy in areas where it still holds competitive advantage.

    Oil Trades:

    The Custom and Excise regime for oil products has militated against domestic bulk distribution by ship/barge. Needs to be reviewed.

    Western Highlands and Islands Trades:

    The competitive balance between direct sea and road/ro-ro ferry combinations has been distorted by imbalances in subsidies. This has proved detrimental to the former, particularly in the timber trades.

    Manchester Ship Canal:

    Earlier proposals by a business consortium to operate shortsea liner services from the inland port deserves re-consideration.

    North Sea Coastal Highway:

    Earlier studies in an North East-South East freight ro-ro service to be up-dated. Comparative analysis with Italian "Autostrade del Mare" to be made.

    Container Feeder Services:

    Prospects for coastal services, e.g., Southampton-Grangemouth to be reviewed. Possibility of start up support similar to rail's Track Access Grant to be considered.

Dr Merv Rowlinson

London Guildhall University

3 December 1998

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