Two weeks ago, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) announced the launch of a new tracker which will combine port data and survey results to provide a regular picture of challenges and trends at ports around the world.

The aim of the tracker is to help those running and using ports to make better decisions about investments and planning. Alongside metrics such as the number of vessel calls, call sizes and moves per hour, the tracker will look at factors including warehouse and distribution facility capacity, staff availability and hinterland transport conditions – how the port is connected to inland areas.

The connectivity of ports – how efficiently goods move to and from the ports by rail and road – is a crucial factor in determining how those ports will be used, and how they will develop. Good connectivity to and from ports helps boost economic growth and encourages inward investment.

Roads are absolutely vital in this. Analysis conducted by the British Ports Association (BPA) last year found that roads carry seven times as much cargo to and from ports as rail in the UK. The BPA has been calling on the Government to invest in local infrastructure around ports to reduce congestion and to allow ports to take more freight.

As well as allowing this more trade, it could help with the decarbonisation agenda. We could send more freight within the UK by sea. This is already the most carbon-efficient mode of transport but, since these journeys are relatively short, they have the potential to be decarbonised further using battery technology.

The Government’s new freeports are a vital piece of the post-Brexit trade jigsaw, requiring good transport links to ensure that they can function and grow as hoped. The eight freeports in England are at East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside. Scotland is to select two green freeports.

Given the volume of road traffic in and out of ports and the access routes to them, it’s not surprising that some of Thermal Road Repairs’ current projects involve repairs to roads in and around ports. High volumes of higher weight vehicles mean that cracks and defects in the surface of a road will open up more quickly into potholes. Treating them as soon as possible and with a permanent repair method helps prolong their lives.

Because the Thermal Road Repair process heats up the material in and around a defect or pothole, and mixes it up with small amounts of new material, the repair area is homogenous once it has been compacted. This means that there are no weak joint areas from which cracks and more potholes can propagate from. It is also very low carbon since it uses solar power, there’s no waste material, no lorry movements, and very little new asphalt.

Another reason why port owners and local authorities choose the Thermal Road Repairs process is that it is quiet, requiring no jack-hammering or sawing. This means that repairs can take place at night, minimising disruption to port-related movements and to other road users.

Thermal Road Repairs is a green technology company which supplies systems to improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving – at a far lower environmental cost than traditional methods. We invest significantly in R&D, to create new technologies and to continuously improve our existing ones.

High output. Zero emission. Permanent solution.