The new Chief Executive of one of the UK’s largest logistics firms has urged the government to embrace a partnership with port and maritime companies to help meet its objectives on levelling-up, net zero and economic growth.
Claudio Veritiero, who took over at Peel Ports Group in April, says that businesses in the sector are ideally placed to provide benefits and opportunities across these three national priorities, especially in the wake of Covid-19 and Brexit.
The comments are included in a 40-page report that Peel Ports has published on Monday 18th July in response to the government’s own whitepaper from earlier this year, in which the company says there is ‘enormous scope’ for synergy between what is required for levelling-up, achieving Net Zero ambitions and the work of the maritime logistics community.
Peel Ports goes on to set out practical ways in which businesses can be helped to maximise their impact, referencing the government’s own approach of six ‘capitals’: physical, financial, intangible, social, human and institutional. The report quotes research by Maritime UK showing that:
- the port sector creates an extra £2.67 to the economy for every £1 it directly produces
- this contributes to an estimated total of £29 billion to the UK economy
- maritime workers earn 36% more than the national average.
Claudio Veritiero said: “It has long been clear to those of us in the port sector that we have an essential role to play in growing economies and there’s never been a more pivotal time for us to assert our ambitions in helping everyone in the UK to thrive.
“Our operations enable better futures for our staff, local communities, other businesses and the environment. We’re already doing our part and with the government’s support we’re ready to do much, much more.”
Peel Ports, which is headquartered in Liverpool and employs around 2000 staff, has invested around £1.2bn in the last 10 years. It is one of the largest port operators in the UK, handling nearly 70 million tonnes of cargo per year and 15% of the UK’s total port traffic through its waters. As well as major operations in Clydeside, Merseyside, London Medway, Lancashire, Manchester, Norfolk and Dublin, the company includes a freight forwarding logistics business and a shipping line.
Peel Ports’ report goes on to highlight that the effects on the economy and society from Brexit and COVID have brought supply chains into the public eye as never before, which in turn has resulted in a sharper focus on the essential role of ports, and the maritime industry more widely, acting as an important enabler that underpins the economy.
In February 2022, the UK government launched its ‘Levelling-up’ white paper, which promised to set out a ‘complete system change of government works that will be implemented to level up the UK’.
This follows the creation of the new Department for Levelling-up, Housing and Communities, which is charged with helping to deliver on the UK government’s central mission to level up every part of the UK. Its ambition is to support “communities across the UK to thrive, making them great places to live and work”.