Emma calls for Government to back North East manufacturers over ship fuel laws

October 27, 2014

131015 - ELB at DPMQs

Emma called on the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to act over new regulations regarding ship fuel, which could cost manufacturers in the North East as much as £300m.

The EU Sulphur Directive requires ships to use cleaner fuel, but this makes transporting goods more expensive for companies who rely on the UK’s Ports.

The Port of Tyne have expressed concern about the impact the new rules could have on business in the North East, as have local manufacturers.  They want to see the Government offer transitional support while industry adapts to the changes.

Emma asked the Transport Secretary:

“Local manufacturers and the Port of Tyne are warning that from January the EU Sulphur directive will increase shipping costs by more than15%.  These effects could be mitigated by abatement technology, but this will take time to fit, and in the meantime businesses will suffer.  Will the Government live up to its commitment to support manufacturing and offer transitional support while new technology is implemented?”

Mr McLoughlin said he would meet with Emma to discuss the issue, and tried to claim that the Directive had been introduced by Labour.

But it was his Government in 2012 that signed up to new regulations, despite the warnings of the shipping industry that they would hurt the UK’s ability to compete with other nations.

The Port of Tyne has seen record growth over the last five years, and is handling more cargo than it has done for over half a century. It is estimated to contribute over half a billion pounds to the regional economy, while supporting 10,500 jobs.

However, the Port together with manufacturers have warned that the new rules on fuel could cost them an extra £300m a year.

Emma said:

“The Port of Tyne is one of Shields’ great success stories, and altogether the shipping industry makes a massive contribution to our local economy.  The Government should be doing everything they can to support North East businesses, but these new rules will put up costs.

“I am disappointed that the Secretary of State tried to blame this on Labour, when in fact it was his party that agreed these rules.  However, I hope that we will be able to work together to achieve a solution that helps the Port and regional manufacturers and protects the North East’s status as Britain’s strongest region for exports.”

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