Department for Exiting the European Union Minister, David Jones, has visited Southampton to hear views on the Brexit negotiations and consider some of the opportunities ahead as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
As one of the busiest ports in the country, Southampton plays an important role in UK trade, handling £40 billion of exports, including £36 billion of exports destined for markets outside of the EU.
DExEU Minister, David Jones, said:
As the country’s biggest vehicle handling port and second largest container terminal, Southampton Port has a proud history of serving the local community, Europe and beyond.
Known as the ‘gateway to the world’ the port plays an important role both for UK manufacturers looking to access international markets and cruise passengers travelling across the globe.
The government recognises that there may be challenges ahead but is committed to getting the best deal for the UK, including the port and maritime industry.
UK ports handle an estimated £511 billion of goods, of which £228 billion are exports and 30% of those pass through Associated British Ports (ABP), the owners and operators of Southampton Port.
Over the next 5 years ABP plan to invest some £170 million pounds in the port, securing thousands of jobs and providing a boost to the local economy.
ABP Chief Executive, James Cooper, said:
The Port of Southampton is the UK’s leading export port and plays an integral part in UK industry supply chains. Southampton handles around 900,000 vehicles annually, with 60% of those British made cars en route to markets in America, the Middle East and the Far East.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss the challenges Brexit may present to the port and maritime industry but also to add a supportive voice as the government prepares for negotiations.
We are already investing for the future and will continue to build on our existing strengths while exploring new markets that will help to ensure the port and the UK market, that relies on it for access to global markets, remains sustainable and prosperous.