Harbour Commission

Who we are and what we do?

Fowey Harbour Commissioners are the statutory Trust Port body set up initially in 1869 to promote and regulate trade in the Port of Fowey.

There is a long history of Fowey being an important and a principal trading port servicing the South West region of Britain and providing a significant trading link.

Today, Fowey provides a deep water harbour for the export of 750,000 tonnes of china clay annually in addition to providing a safe haven for in excess of 1500 resident pleasure craft and 7000 to 8000 visiting vessels.

The beautiful and largely unspoiled Fowey Harbour and estuary ranks in the top 40 UK harbours and the top cargo handling port in the South West region.

As a Trust port, Fowey is managed by an independent Board of Commissioners. Run on a commercial basis, regulated profits are reinvested in the Harbour for the benefit of all stakeholders. All revenues are derived from Port users.

The role of the authority can be split into two main functions they are:

  • Regulatory:- the control of harbour operations in a safe and efficient manner
  • Conservancy:- maintenance of the harbour to ensure that users do so safely and conveniently

Other statutory duties include implementing:

  • Port Emergency Plans
  • Waste Management Plans
  • Oil Contingency Plans
  • Environmental Management
  • Marine Safety Management System

Fowey Harbour Commissioners -  the Harbour Authority

A harbour authority is a body which has been given statutory powers or duties for the purpose of improving, maintaining or managing a harbour.  The actual body which is the harbour authority can take different forms. 

Some are local authorities, some are companies registered under the Companies Act 1985 and some are statutory companies (i.e. a company established by Act of Parliament).

Many harbour authorities are, however, of the type commonly known as 'trust ports', these are established by Acts of Parliament but are controlled, not by shareholders, but by a specially constituted body, sometimes known as Commissioners.

Fowey Harbour Commissioners are a Trust Port set up in 1869.  The present local act is the Fowey Harbour Order Act 1937 (confirmed 1960).  A Harbour Revision Orders of 1980 and 2001 gave additional powers.The later one reconstituted the board and its structure.

The Commissioners' Board comprises 9 apppointed members who serve a 3 year term. Each year, 3 positions are advertised for election to the board on a rotating schedule of appointments. Local councils have the power to appointment 3 of the board members. The Commissioners appoint the other 6 board members.

The Commissioners receive no remuneration for their services.

There is little difference between the duties of a trust board member and the member of a private board.  The basic principles of truth, integrity, honesty, loyalty and acting in a Vires manner hold good in addition to which there are obligations, responsibilities and statutory duties peculiar to the trust. Commissioners are not appointed to represent interests but to manage the harbour independently for the benefit of all. In particular, they act as completely independent trustees for the benefit of all stakeholders in the trust - including all port users and the local community - and will abide by the principles of good corporate governance set out in this guidance.

The trust's primary duty (and therefore that of a board member) shall be to take such steps as they consider necessary or expedient for the improvement, maintenance and management of the Fowey Harbour and the accommodation and facilities afforded or in connection with the Fowey Harbour with a recognition of the port's role in the region.

All of these duties are carried out in consultation with many other statutory bodies, stakeholders and interested parties including the Fowey Harbour Port User Group

Further information about the Fowey Harbour Board of Commissioners

Fowey Harbour
Tel: +44 (0)1726 832471   Email: fhc@foweyharbour.co.uk