Monday, November 24, 2014

Northern England Aims to Increase Freight Opportunities

Two Efforts to Promote Regional Growth
Shipping News Feature

UK – Yorkshire seems to be a hotbed of activity for freight this month with two significant events aimed at increasing the throughput of cargo in the West of the county. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) will be promoting modal change and encouraging the use of canals and inland waterways whilst Associated British Ports’ (ABP) is investigating the promotion of export opportunities in the company of the local Council.

On Wednesday 26 November the Holiday Inn Leeds will see the FTA launch its ‘Making use of water freight’ a guide which is aimed at shippers of goods who might be considering water freight as a part of their supply chain solution. Keynote speakers during the day will include members of the Canal & Rivers Trust Freight Advisory Group, David Quarmby and John Dodwell, who will be speaking on ‘How to make water freight work in the north.’

Topics such as grants available for modal shift and local success stories will be discussed at the free of charge event, whilst the main aim of the day will be to provide information to potential users of water freight services as a complement to road-based services, and during the day current options available in the north of England will also be considered, looking at how these are likely to develop over the next few years.

Meanwhile businesses from across West Yorkshire have gathered at Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Goole to celebrate the signing of a pioneering Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ABP and Wakefield Council. The two organisations, with support from UK Trade & Industry (UKTI), will work together to highlight and develop export opportunities for businesses across Wakefield and the Leeds City Region in order to promote business growth in the area. Wakefield Council’s Chief Executive Joanne Roney commented:

“This partnership will strengthen our ability to develop export opportunities for our local and regional businesses and reinforces Wakefield Council’s commitment to securing economic growth in our region. Our aim is to see the value of exports coming out of our area increase by 15% over the next two years and by working with ABP and UKTI we are confident this can be achieved.”

Delegates attended a workshop delivered by Colin Russell of UKTI, which was designed to help them understand exporting, how to identify opportunities and how companies can achieve positive results. UKTI also provided advice on next steps for those companies which felt they needed guidance on how to start the process. ABP Director, Humber, John Fitzgerald was enthusiastic about the prospect of working closely with Wakefield Council, saying:

“95% of trade coming in and out of the UK comes by sea and the ports are a fundamental link in the supply chain for international trade. The Humber ports are the region’s biggest natural asset and the largest port complex in the UK. It makes absolute sense that businesses from across Yorkshire and Humber and the whole of the north should be using them to develop and grow, and we can help them do just that.

“The ports are an enabler, allowing the regions to be internationally competitive. Take the Port of Goole for example, here we have a tri-modal facility with excellent rail, road and waterway connections that’s a crucial trading hub. Increasingly the north is being marketed as a single business entity. The Humber ports are the front door of this ‘Northern Powerhouse’.”

Photo: Courtesy of the Canal & Rivers Trust