Ports

Transport, Local Government and the Regions written question – answered on 14th February 2002.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what position he has taken on the proposed directive on the market access to port services; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions

The proposed directive on market access to port services would introduce a framework for competition in provision of services within ports, covering cargo handling, passenger services and technical-nautical services, including pilotage. The UK fully supports the broad principles of liberalisation and competition in the provision of port services, subject to safety and standards being safeguarded. However, we have a number of concerns about the proposals, and we consider that amendments will be required in order to take account of the diversity and complexity of the ports industry.

The proposed directive is now under discussion in the Transport Council Working Group. We understand that the commission is planning to issue modified proposals. We shall consult fully with the ports industry, users, trades unions and other interests on them.

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