Ninety-five per cent of all the UK’s trade is transported by sea. And yet, as a nation, have we been guilty of taking our ports industry for granted?
Financing your future proofing innovations
We expect to find food on the supermarket shelves, petrol at the pumps and clothes in the shops (or online). Our day-to-day lives are based on a constant availability of coffee, tea, paper, computers, phones, furniture, cars, machinery, construction materials, chemicals and raw materials …and so it goes on.
Ninety-five per cent of all the UK’s trade is transported by sea. And yet, as a nation, have we been guilty of taking our ports industry for granted? That can’t happen any longer. Disruption at borders, miles of queuing lorries, delayed deliveries, the prospect of shortages in the supermarkets – all these have concentrated minds. Over the past year, the combination of Brexit and Covid-19 has made us all aware of our ports as never before.
Whether handling ferries, container ships, oil tankers or any of the wide variety of other cargo vessels, our ports provide the vital link in thousands of efficient, intricately planned supply chains. We shouldn’t have to state the obvious … but the United Kingdom is an island! We absolutely depend on our ports.
In its Review of Maritime Transport 2020, UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) emphasised that the shipping industry would be at the forefront of efforts towards a sustainable recovery post-Covid. UNCTAD emphasised the need for resilience and future proofing at ports, in order to meet future shocks – including from future pandemics and weather and climate-related challenges – and it urged the maritime sector to continue on its drive for green solutions and sustainability.
That, of course, means investment. Ports must also compete with each other for cargo volumes – a successful port is one that moves with the times, one that invests in new solutions and processes to make it even more efficient.
In the UK, port development is being driven by environmental pressures on emissions and air quality; by specifics such as the requirement for ports to produce Air Quality Strategies and the ending of the ‘red diesel’ subsidy; by rapid advances in digitalisation and electrification; and by Maritime 2050, the first-ever long-term strategy for the UK’s maritime sector.
But here’s the question: how do ports ensure that they have opted for the right, future proofed projects or modifications, which will attract investment and be a bankable transaction?
The answer is to work with a company that can deliver AND finance the necessary infrastructure and equipment projects. At Siemens, we work with ports to design and future proof their projects – and we are also ready to provide the financial backing, with investment packages designed around their needs.
Siemens Financial Services (SFS) offers innovative financing solutions which enable ports to make important investments in new or upgraded infrastructure, equipment and technology, without the requirement for large capex budgets.
In short, Siemens can support ports in their drive for increased environmental and operational sustainability, and we can also help with commercial sustainability.
So, our message to port operators is one of encouragement: contact us and see how we can help.