NORTH-EAST port jobs could be lost if a proposal passes the European Parliament.

The proposed Port Services Regulation (PSR) will be put before the European Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday March 7), and has a substantial impact on privately-owned ports, including Teesport and Port of Tyne.

They will be forced to contract out services and appoint at least two service providers, even if only one is required. Opponents of the proposed changes said this will undermine the competitiveness of local ports in what is already a tough market.

Andrew Moffat, British Ports Association Chairman and Port of Tyne chief executive, said: “Privately funded ports will be undermined by the proposed European Commission Port Services Regulations – under the current proposals there is uncertainty and more clarity is needed about how this Regulation will add value to European ports.

“If MEPs cannot reject the proposals, we urge them to support an amendment which would clearly and unambiguously remove privately financed ports from the scope of the Regulation, in a way that is entirely consistent with EU law.”

UK Independence Party MEP Jonathan Arnott was concerned the regulations threatened jobs at Teesport. He said: “This proposal is yet another kick in the teeth for hard-working people. Our local economy is under severe strain, and our transport links are a huge part of the fact that the North-East is a net exporting region.

"We simply can't afford to risk further loss of jobs at a time when our region already has the highest unemployment in the country. The proposal is a timely reminder that staying in the EU actually carries a substantial risk to local people's jobs."