The British Ports Association has welcomed the targeted relaxation of the quarantine restrictions at the border. The Government is today publishing a list of ‘transit corridors’ with countries deemed as low-risk in terms of coronavirus transmission which will provide much relief to certain port and passenger shipping routes.
This list includes France and Spain and other countries in Europe with established ferry links to the UK. Whilst freight has continued to flow between Europe and the UK along these routes (and others), passenger numbers have been hit hard. Passenger revenue supports these critical supply routes and Government has needed to step in to guarantee minimum levels of service to protect critical supply chains.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association said:
“We are pleased that the Government have opened up these corridors. This will help with the recovery of the tourism and maritime sectors. Ferry travel in particular is one of the safest modes for passenger travel as social distancing is far easier to maintain and use of public transport to the terminal is minimal.
Most international ferry journeys involve vehicles and include opportunities to social distance, both at ports and onboard ships. We have been discussing this with ministers and officials and are glad they feel that certain international travel options are now safe. Opening up these safe corridors also supports the economic resilience of critical supply chains that move freight on these same services.
Tourism is an important activity to ports as well as in coastal regions. These measures will also apply to other modes including recreational sailing and the cruise industry, which has been badly hit in recent months. The British Ports Association represents all the UK’s passenger ports and we have been in close contact with the UK Government.
We will continue to work constructively with Government on the safe reopening of passenger gateways, including the cruise industry. This won’t be rushed but the cruise sector certainly has experience implementing health control measures and will definitely return, when it is safe to do so. The UK has a great maritime tourist offer and we are excited that things are finally beginning to open up.”
The British Ports Association represents the majority of ports in the UK, including all the main passenger/ferry terminals.
The industry is keen to see the cruise industry get back on its feet as soon as possible and will be working with Government to ensure that can happen safely as quickly as possible. The leisure and tourism sectors are important to many ports and coastal communities.