Ultimate Products is the company behind bringing some of the UK’s best-loved brands to the high street. Managing Director Andrew Gossage sets out why what’s happening at the Port of Liverpool matters so much to his business.
Although we’re based in Manchester I still live in Liverpool and as I drive around there you see the massive, red ship-to-shore cranes at Liverpool2. It makes me, and many other Liverpudlians, feel proud. Although the port has had its tough times in recent decades, we still see ourselves as a maritime city and there’s a docker in all of us. Getting Liverpool2 built is a huge achievement and sends a massive signal about the area being open for business.
It’s crucial for the North-west generally, and the north as a whole, to have a container terminal of this size and capability, especially as it opens up the potential for the trade links it should have, such as with the Far East. We already have lots of retail and wholesale businesses in the area and its makes no sense for so many of their goods to be transported via southern ports.
But the next phase is even more important, which is getting those direct routes on for all the major markets that we want to trade with. The quicker that Liverpool can move away from feeder vessels to deep-sea services, the quicker it will open up the benefits of the northern powerhouse for all of us.
Some people are interested in how Brexit and any new trade deals could affect business in our part of the UK. However, I think the main thing is about Liverpool regaining its natural market share from other parts of the country. Yes, it’s essential to grow economy as a whole, but we need to think about the economy north of Birmingham and how best to serve its existing commercial strengths.
There will always be ups and downs in the economy and Brexit is part of that. What we need to do is address the pent-up demand in the north for direct shipping closer to our markets.
In doing so, there’s a huge lesson to be learned from London. It’s been an economic powerhouse for decades, if not centuries, and we can emulate that. Despite the headwinds that northern cities have had to face over the years, they’ve still created vibrant economies with their own personalities. If we can link all that up into a virtual second city then we we’ll gain the benefits.
Andrew Gossage, MD, Ultimate Products
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