A Labour Member of Parliament has condemned European Union plans to impose a regulator on, and set prices for, Southampton Port. John Denham has added his name to a letter to David Cameron, urging him to block proposed new EU laws on cargo handling and investment in infrastructure.
The MP for Southampton Itchen warns that the regulations will impose a “one size fits all” approach that could damage the UK’s port industry.
The port in southern England is a hub of industry and has been major home to commerce for centuries.
The letter says: “As an island nation, our ports are essential for jobs, investment and economic growth. Some 95 per cent of the UK’s trade in goods moves by sea. Our major ports contribute £21 billion to GDP every year and support over 400,000 jobs.”
Mr Denham then adds: “This would change the whole way the port operates, and could see prices set not by competition between ports but by an official from the EU.
“Southampton has the most productive container port in Europe, and one of the most productive in the whole world.
“Any interference is likely to not be in the interests of anyone working in the port, or connected to it.”
The EU says that appointing a regulator for ports will create a better network across Europe and improve their performance.
This is the third time Brussels has proposed this legislation. The previous two times, it was forced to step back after fierce opposition throughout Europe.
If passed, it could be in force by the end of the year.