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Proposed Changes Administration Of Jersey’s Harbours

by Carla Johnson, Investors, London

18 October 2007

Economic Development Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, is proposing changes to the Law covering the administration of Jersey’s harbours, it emerged this week.

The existing Law is over 45 years old, and according to the Minister, has significant shortcomings as a tool for managing a 21st century port. The 1961 Law only allows the States to control the use of ferry ramps and no other area of port activity. This means that at present it isn’t possible to manage other passenger or freight activities, which do not need to use a ramp. Its description of territorial waters is also flawed, Ozouf has argued.

The change to the Law is part of a two stage reform process, as Regulations will follow the approval of these amendments. The Regulations will provide more detail on how the new Law is to be administered. Significantly, it will mean that restricted permits can be issued requiring operators to tender for the use of port facilities and ferry services if there is a benefit for Jersey. However, the purpose of an open port is to open up possibilities for the future, with competition at its heart, and this will be the key criterion for the Harbour Master to follow.

Senator Ozouf on Tuesday lodged a number of amendments asking for States agreement to revise the Harbours Administration Law.

Commenting on the proposals, he stated this week: “We need to have a Law which is fit for purpose in enabling us to properly manage the port of St Helier. We need this so that we not only protect the interests of the travelling public but ensure Jersey has frequent, reliable and affordable ferry services. This is vital if we have the interests of the public at heart and are serious in supporting the development of our economy in general and of the tourism industry in particular.”

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