UK: Falmouth Welcomes Shipping Minister

Shipping Minister Mike Penning has today backed proposals by Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) for the future of the port, which could create hundreds of jobs over the next five years and safeguard the local economy.

During the two-hour visit Mr Penning was given a guided tour of the harbour onboard pilot boat Trelawney, and learned about the vital role the port plays in the Cornish economy.

David Ellis, Chairman of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, briefed the minister on plans for the future, including the Port of Falmouth Development Initiative, and FabTest, Falmouth’s proposal to become a test site for marine energy devices.

Last month the Port of Falmouth Masterplan was unveiled to the public. It centres around proposals for the development of Falmouth Docks over the next five years, as well as for the longer term, up to 2026.

Mr Penning said the port had his “full support”. He said: “Coastal shipping and ports play a vital role in the economy and we need our ports operating to the best of their abilities.

I’ve been out to see the area where the dredging is needed and it seems to me that this is very important for Falmouth. We need to protect jobs, create jobs and create growth.”

Proposals include modernising ship repair facilities, upgrading wharves at the Docks, improving bunkering services, a new state-of-the-art 290 berth marina and providing new super yacht workshops and offices.

The strategic aim of the study is to ensure Falmouth is maintained and developed as a successful and viable operational port that is of regional significance and makes a major and continuing contribution to the Cornish economy and the wellbeing of local communities.

Mr Ellis said: “I was delighted to welcome the Minister to Falmouth and to have the opportunity to discuss the future of the port and the issues we are facing with him.

The next five years could be an exciting time for Falmouth, bringing in hundreds of high quality employment opportunities and playing a major role in supporting the growth of the Cornish economy.

“But what I made clear to the Minister is that the entire future of Falmouth as a thriving port hinges on the ability to dredge a deep water channel into the docks – not only to safeguard existing port functions but to develop businesses which need use of the port by larger vessels.

Today’s visit gave us the opportunity to highlight the environmental issues which are currently holding us back and the significant economic benefits the project would bring to Falmouth. We remain confident that the full potential of Falmouth Harbour can be unlocked.”


Source: dca-pr, April 14, 2011