The UK Government’s decision to raise taxes on goods passing through UK ports has sparked opposition from a leading UK port firm.

PD Ports has called on retailers and logistics groups to protest against the government’s plans to hike light dues.

Light dues are the charges that are levied on all vessels except tugs, fishing vessels and pleasure boats, when they enter the ports of UK and Republic of Ireland.

PD Ports Group development director Martyn Pellew said the 67% hike in light dues for the larger ships may lead to shipping firms avoiding the UK altogether, destroying local businesses that are already operating with tight profit margins.

The ships using the PD Ports Teesport facilities in North East England will be forced to pay an additional £4m a year, PD Ports estimates.

On the continent no light dues are levied and the firm is fearful for the 500,000 workers that depend on the maritime industry throughout the UK.

By staff writer.