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


International Navigation Association (PIANC)



  Considering the sub-headings under Ports and Economy, it may be appropriate to insert a small paragraph to describe the "Smaller ships" and their role in relation to the Bigger ships as feeders as well as their significance in transferring freight from road or for that matter rail where appropriate.

  2.1.10:  Serving the customer—"Customers value viable rail connections as an alternative to congested roads"- The sentence could also refer to distribution by water, in addition to rail, as an alternative to road.

  2.1.16:  Sustainable distribution—There is reference to "promoting greater use of inland freight". Does this refer to inland waterways? If so it needs to be qualified. If not, then this part of the statement is contradictory to other parts of the document which encourage the increased use of coastal shipping routes.

  Under the heading Sustainable Distribution, could coastal routes be promoted here, as the seaway around our coast has to be the most sustainable traffic "track" of them all?

  2.4.5:  New uses for surplus port sites—The reference to Port sites access could include "as well as inland waterways routes to the hinterland" or similar. This is applicable to all UK major estuaries/rivers and associated major ports as well as some smaller ports.

  2.6.9:  A new course for shipping— This point should be commended.

  2.6.11:  Inland waterways—The reasons for the loss of inland waterways freight should include the loss of wharfage facilities due to pressure on waterside land for residential, or similar non-shipping related, development. This is not always where the wharf is necessarily redundant although the short-term revenue from the property development is inevitably higher than the shipping activity revenue. The lack of wharfage on inland and estuary locations is now a serious constraint to new traffic transferring from road to water.

  2.6.12:  Inland waterways—With regard to the reference to suitable commodities for inland waterways, it is evident that there is interest and new traffic developments for commodities outside of the "traditional range" ; the way this is currently worded rather limits the imagination and scope.

  The point as to the suitability for traffic from waterside industry could also be reflected in a later section on land and strategic planning.

  2.6.19:  Inland waterways—This is a good example and it is suggested than an additional example be mentioned in terms of the Manchester Ship Canal. This is not only UK's largest inland waterway but also has a large proportion of maritime traffic and therefore is considered very significant within this context.

  3.1.22:  Problem ports—The approach throughout appears to almost omit the small ports and their significance to the overall aims of distribution and the reduction of road miles. If it is considered essential that there is to be an integrated transport strategy developed, then many of the smaller ports should be recognised and not dismissed.

  There are certainly many instances when the shipping activities have declined so far that other developments are considered. It is however recommended that in such instances, even if there is no current demand for cargo movements, that a cargo handling capacity is maintained in some form, so not stripping the local communities or towns in the immediate hinterland, of some access to sea transportation in the future.

  This may be done by leaving certain quayside frontage with road access, and the new buildings set back. There are a number of examples where this works very well and if the dock or river is to be used for water related recreation, the planning of the frontage use can take account of this with say temporary moorings along that section, still earning in the meantime. This way the site is not totally sterilised against small scale shipping activities if needed in the future.

  It would be helpful if there were some strategy developed to assist those small ports which are struggling, not only in terms of finance but also in terms of management and marketing towards developing new traffic and opportunities, so more fully realising their asset. At the end of the day, their asset is part of the UK's national assets.

Captain H Mitchell

Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping Consultant

International Navigation Association (PIANC) British National Committee member

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