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Welcome to the South West Regional Ports Association (SWRPA) website

The Association has evolved from what was formerly a Devon & Cornwall harbour networking group and in response to requests from regional & local government agencies to provide a single point of contact for ports in the South West Region and now covers the region to include the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

As we emerge from some difficult economic times since 2008 and with the added imposition on some commercial ports of the Pilots National Pension Fund deficit charge there are some encouraging signs for ports in the south west as the benefits they can offer to both existing and emerging industries are increasingly evident. “Green” is a word we are all familiar with and there is no greener or more sustainable transport option than transport by sea. Wind, tide & wave energy initiatives develop at pace along our coastline and each involves the use of port infrastructure and services from which we can all benefit.

Ports provide a focal point for tourists and traders alike. A family trip to the beach or around the bay whilst a cargo vessel sails out of the port focuses thought on the fact that ports are multi-faceted and create opportunities for a diverse range of uses whist at the same time providing a significant tourist fascination and attraction.

As a tourist destination the attraction of the smaller regional ports is well established. Recent marketing developments in the cruise ship industry, notably by ‘Destination South West’, a body which many of our members are part of, have led to a growth in the number of cruise ship visits to our ports. This ensures ports in the South West are exposed to maximum publicity for potential visitors from both land and sea. We aim to continue to encourage cruise ship visits to South West Ports.

We look forward to engaging with the Local Enterprise Partnerships as they continue to develop in the region.

We also aim to represent the views of our members with regard to current & evolving ports policy, and to act as a link for all agencies involved with the operations ports undertake.

We will respond to consultations and, where appropriate, supply evidence in response to requests from government departments and other relevant agencies.

We aim to highlight the importance of port economies to local and regional government and, where practicable, ensure the core business of ports, be it commercial or leisure, are protected from developments which affect their viability.

Our ‘Gateways for Growth” document, due to be updated shortly, expands on these themes and adds weight to the arguments in favour of support for the ports sector. I would like to thank the British Ports Association for their assistance in both producing and updating this work.

Member ports are represented by professionals with a wealth of expertise and the Association is supported by a strong network of knowledgeable colleagues throughout the region. This website provides links to each of our members’ home sites; over 35 ports in the south west. I hope you now know where to come for port and harbour business and information in the South West, that you find this site useful and that you support the ports industry in the South West and help them to create and sustain a vibrant economy in the region.

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