More than three-quarters of retail industry bosses want goods imported through ports closer to their end destination in order to reduce emissions and inefficiencies, according to a new survey.

Peel Ports said its research revealed 76% of UK retail leaders think imported goods travelling through ports closer to them will cut greenhouse emissions and create a more sustainable supply chain.

It said 90% of deep-sea containerised cargo entered the UK via southern ports, despite 60% of these goods being destined for the north – resulting in long road journeys.

The research also showed improving sustainability was high on the retailer agenda, with 77% claiming that cutting carbon emissions was one of their top strategic priorities and 79% believing more efficient transportation of goods was required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Peel Ports said that as well as reducing emissions from long-haul journeys, importing goods closer to their end destination would enhance efficiency by reducing congestion and transportation costs.

Marcus Connolly, Peel Ports’ strategic commercial director, said: “What’s clear is that retail leaders are crying out for better use of UK ports so goods arrive closer to their end destination.

“The benefits are numerous, with shorter lead times, fewer emissions and more efficient landside logistics, to name a few.

“Ports are primed to facilitate more sustainable retail operations, and we now need to work closely with shipping lines and the wider retail and logistics sectors to deliver more effective solutions,” he said.