Road, Rail and Results

Blog by Peel Ports Group Planning Director, Warren Marshall.

I’ve been invited to take part in the Multimodal panel at today’s Northern Transport Summit in Manchester. And once again it promises to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable occasion, with an audience of strategic thinkers, many of whom are actively working on infrastructure projects destined to improve the North of England for the greater good.

We at Peel Ports are playing our part in that and I’m looking forward to informing delegates on the exciting updates at the Port of Liverpool and elsewhere in our network.

Indeed, we’ve been very forward in setting out the potential of the major, transformational investments that Peel Ports has made in recent years in the North-west in particular. If you look at  the Port of Liverpool, Manchester Ship Canal, Port Salford and the Port of Heysham together, we have invested over £750million advancing the region hugely for both businesses and consumers.

But there is one thing I would like to discuss in order to see our investments reach their full potential and that is the need for further spend on both road and rail linkages for the benefit of our workforce, community and economy.

Allow me to be clear on this. Rail and road links, for us, are key enablers of our business strategy and our strategy is simple: we want all cargo journeys to be efficient, sustainable and reliable, and rail and road links have a huge part to play in this.

Further investments are also about creating a more mobile workforce, helping the region to recruit, train and retain the mix of skills and talents that our key economic sectors need for the future.

Although people are well aware of our road connectivity, many of our facilities also link with the rail network. Our commitment to rail as a major mode for cargo transport supports the growth of the Northern economy by improving connectivity for freight across the region and the rest of the UK.

The High Speed North Report, which was published in March 2016 by the National Infrastructure Commission, stated that “The Commission’s central finding is that the North needs immediate and very significant investment for action now and a plan for longer term transformation to reduce journey times, increase capacity and improve reliability.”

The report supports an early kick-start to HS3, for it to be integrated with HS2 and planning for the redevelopment of the North’s gateway stations.

Similarly, the paper also suggests that “investments in road improvements should be brought forward for an early boost in capacity on the M62, the North’s most important east-west link, alongside funding to identify and assess proposals for tackling a range of other strategic challenges.”

Such infrastructure projects are essential if the government is to make good on its plan to boost economic growth across the north of England, drawing on the strengths of the regions, cities, towns and rural communities to create a Northern Powerhouse that will act as an economic counter-balance to London and the South-east.

I think timing is everything, and I would like to see these investments being made sooner rather than later for the benefit of everyone who works and lives in the North of England. And I’m keen to hear the thoughts of others on this one today. I’m sure it will be a fascinating debate!

To find out more information on Peel Ports investments click here.


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