ABP opposes M4 relief "black route"
Associated British Ports has expressed concerns over the 'black route', a proposed M4 relief road which it said would restrict the development of the Port of Newport.
If plans are approved, the 'black route' would involve constructing a bridge which would divide the North and South docks. ABP said this would have a "major" impact on the size of the vessels entering the port, which handles in excess of 1.5 million tonnes of cargo per year.
"As an owner and operator of ports across the whole of south Wales, we recognise the need for action to tackle the current congestion problems which surround the M4 at Newport," said director of ABP South Wales Matthew Kennerley.
"However, we are very concerned about the impact that the favoured ‘black route’ will have as it will significantly reduce the existing capacity, as well as limiting future development opportunities at the Port of Newport."
The proposed M4 bridge would also limit how mobile cranes are deployed across the port.
Kennerley added: "There will also be a great deal of business interruption during the construction of the road and following the construction of a road through the port, there could be restrictions on some of the types of cargo that the port can handle, meaning certain types of work could also be lost.
"All this is in addition to the impact of restricting existing use and potential development of 12-acres of port land that falls under the footprint of the new motorway.
"We are committed to investing in the Port of Newport, indeed more than £10m has been invested in the last 18 months alone, including a warehouse that will be constructed later this year, and are in the process of developing a 20-year Port Development Masterplan for the port. However, the current proposals for the M4 relief road represent a real threat to these plans."
The black route is backed by CBI Wales and the Welsh Government, but opposed by the Federation of Small Businesses and former ministers Alun Davies and John Griffiths.