DfT launches £200M port infrastructure fund – New Civil Engineer

The government has launched a GBP200M Port Infrastructure Fund to help prepare the UK's ports for the end of the transition period in January 2021. The new fund has been allocated to help build the facilities needed to cope with any potential customs issues once the UK leaves the EU single market. According to the Department for Transport the fund is targeted at ports which have space to build new border infrastructure on their current sites so that "they are ready to handle new customs rwequirements under the new Border Operating Model".

The UK is currently negotiating a trade deal with the European Union which will set the future relationship following the UK's departure from the bloc. However it is anticipated that UK ports will need new infrastructure whether a deal or not a deal is reached with the EU. Ports have until the end of the month to apply for funding, with successful bids announced shortly after.

The funding can be used for a range of vital port infrastructure - from warehouses and control posts to traffic management systems. From January next year traders importing goods, from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements such as recording imported goods. They will have up to six months to complete customs declarations.

From April 2021 all products of an animal origin such as meat, eggs or milk and regulated plans and plant products will also require pre-notification and relevant health documentation. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: "Our ports are a point of pride for the UK, contributing to our success as a global trading nation and helping bring vital goods into the country each and every day. "This investment will not only ensure our borders are fully operational at the end of the transition period, but will also support the UK's fantastic businesses as they trade across Europe."

British Ports Association chief executive Richard Ballantyne added: "It's clear that without support there would not be the capacity to deal the new customs and borders requirements.

We therefore welcome this scheme which importantly will be open to all port operators across Great Britain."

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