UK ports feel COVID-19 pain despite fixed contracts

05 May 2020 - 12:00 am UTC

Freight activity and a reliance on a “landlord” model is keeping UK port operators afloat during the coronavirus crisis, but the infrastructure funds that own them are still bracing for a financial hit. Rory Gallivan reports.

UK ports have remained open during the COVID-19 crisis, having been designated as an essential service by the government, but the sector is facing a steep drop in volumes and a slow recovery. 

The UK’s biggest ports group by volume, Associated British Ports (ABP), which is backed by OMERS, Hermes, CPPIB, GIC and the Kuwait Investment Authority, on Thursday (30 April) said it expects the virus to have a “negative” effect on its results this year, though it did not quantify the hit. It also said it is seeking to reduce costs and deferring non-essential capital expenditure.  

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