Increased light dues will impose a heavy burden Thu Jun 11 16:05:00 BST 2009

"The recession has taken the wind out of the sails for a lot of shipping companies and these extra levies could not come at a worse time for businesses in the maritime industry"

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Shipping

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised the increases to light dues announced by the government this week. The leading trade body has called on the Government to take up the other options available that would remove the need for further rises next year.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Shipping, said:

“The recession has taken the wind out of the sails for a lot of shipping companies and these extra levies could not come at a worse time for businesses in the maritime industry.

“While July's rise looks likely to go ahead, we strongly urge the Government to reconsider next April’s planned hike in light dues or risk further reducing the UK's competitiveness, as importers and exporters will face additional costs for operating out of this country.”

FTA agrees with the stance taken by the Lights Advisory Committee and the majority of UK shipowners, that Government could find the extra money needed to fund navigation aids by ending its subsidisation of Irish lights.

Snelling concluded:

“The General Lighthouse Authority’s over spend is being blamed on the credit crunch, but it is this deepening economic recession which is precisely why rates must be kept down. It seems that UK industry will have to pay for the way light dues have been managed, with the UK’s competitiveness as a place to do business being the ultimate victim.

“The Department for Transport itself has openly acknowledged that ‘the shipping industry has been suffering during the economic downturn’, but paying lip service is not enough. We would like to see a cessation of all planned increases, whether they are staggered or not.”

Notes for editors

Light dues are a tax on ships calling in the UK to fund aids to navigation (lighthouses, buoys and beacons). Such taxes are not applied in most European Union member states.

The Shipping Minister announced on the 10 June that UK light dues will rise with effect from 1 July 2009 and again on 1 April 2010, as follows:

Now 1 July 2009 1 April 2010
Rate 35 pence per ton 39 pence per ton 43 pence per ton
Tonnage cap 35,000 nrt 35,000 nrt 40,000 nrt
Voyage cap 7 9 9

 

FTA Press Office

01892 552255
press.office@fta.co.uk

FTA Press Office

01892 552255
press.office@fta.co.uk