Peel Ports becomes first port operator to join British Retail Consortium

11 January 2024

Peel Ports Group has become the first port operator to join the British Retail Consortium (BRC) with a view to strengthening its relationships with retailers.

The UK’s second largest port operator has joined the BRC as an associate member and will utilise its membership to communicate directly and engage with beneficial cargo owners (BCOs).

Peel Ports will also host a series of webinars for BRC members to provide greater insight into the pivotal role ports play in improving supply chain efficiencies and supporting decarbonisation efforts.

The port operator appointed former retail head of supply chain, Jerome Wildsmith, in the role of BCO retail sales manager earlier this year to further strengthen its relationships with importers.

Having recently surveyed more than 2,000 retail leaders, Peel Ports discovered that 77% of participants count cutting carbon emissions as one of their top strategic priorities, while almost half (46%) are looking to source manufacturers closer to home to improve sustainability efforts.

Furthermore, the majority (79%) believe the better transportation of goods via sea into the UK is required to reduce delays, congestion and emissions in the supply chain, while 71% agree working directly with supply chain partners would lessen delays.

With this knowledge, Peel Ports is now on a mission to support retailers in making informed choices about the port of entry for their goods into the UK through a focus on reducing cost, carbon and congestion.

David Huck, Chief Operating Officer at Peel Ports Group said: “Our partnership with BRC will play a supporting role in facilitating our plans to work closely with BCOs and shipping lines, to help make ambitious but informed changes to the UK’s cargo flows.

“Currently, 90% of deep-sea containerised cargo comes into the southern UK ports of Felixstowe, London and Southampton, yet 60% of these goods are destined for the North. This makes no sense to UK plc from either an efficiency or a sustainability perspective.

“We’re serious about our commitment to deliver more effective sea transport and shipping routes, which we believe offer vast improvements for the retail sector. We’re confident our Northern ports hold the key to reducing costs, carbon and congestion - a triple win for the entire supply chain.”

Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at BRC, said: “We are delighted to welcome Peel Ports in to BRC membership as the first ports operator to join as an associate. The retail sector has made a commitment to Net Zero by 2040, ten years ahead of the Government target, and transport offers a significant opportunity to reduce supply chain carbon emissions.

“Maritime shipping is used widely by retailers and they are looking for progress in carbon efficiency from both the shipping lines and the port operators. Peel Ports has already demonstrated its commitment to sustainability with significant investment and is also aligning with the 2040 ambition on the same trajectory as our sector so it is a natural fit.”