A UK Short Sea Shipping Bureau is one step closer
to becoming a reality, according to the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS). Over recent
months, the ICS has organised a number of meetings with leading bodies in the UK transport industry including the Chamber of Shipping, Freight Transport Association
, BIFA, Road Haulage Association
and British ports' groups, all of which have given the bureau their full support. The next step is to secure funding from the UK government.
The aim of the bureau is to promote and co-ordinate efforts to encourage greater movement of goods by sea. "Each day, thousands of containers are moved between the north and south of the UK using our already over burdened motorways," says John Foord, chairman of the ICS Federation Council. By promoting short sea shipping, it is hoped that some of this traffic can be
moved from the road to the sea. This should not only reduce road congestion and pollution, but help regenerate and increase vessel traffic through the UK's smaller regional ports, benefiting the industry as a whole. The UK is
in fact the last EU country to establish its own bureau dedicated to the promotion of short sea shipping services.
The priority now is to secure the necessary funds to get the bureau up and running. "We can only hope that the UK government appreciates the vital role our ports play in the shipping industry and that only through the promotion and development of short sea shipping services can we ensure that the UK remains a significant port of call for international shipping in the future," says Foord. It is proposed that the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers will initially provide the base and secretariat for the bureau.