Bright future predicted for Lancashire economy following infrastructure drive

(Pic) Warren Marshall, Group Planning Director and County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council at the site of the £10m expansion works at Port of Heysham

Port investments at Heysham and Liverpool, combined with the new Bay Gateway, promise to herald a new era of improved economic prospects for Lancashire, according to business and community leaders.

The operators of Heysham port, Peel Ports, and Lancashire County Council say the future looks bright for the area’s businesses, thanks to increased opportunities for trade and growth.

Work on a new link-span bridge at the Port of Heysham is well underway and is set to increase throughput by allowing it to accommodate larger RoRo vessels operating on the Irish Sea. The £10m investment, due for completion in October, will create a fourth berth for freight and passenger traffic and help operators to respond more effectively to growing demand.

The opening of the Bay Gateway in March, a 4.8km route linking the Heysham peninsula directly to the M6, cuts the journey time for goods traded between the UK and Ireland by 30 minutes, offering a significant cost saving to cargo owners and hauliers.

In addition to the local infrastructure improvements, Peel Ports also say that its recently opened Liverpool2 container terminal will open up new opportunities for exports from, and imports to, the region. The £400m investment, which is big enough to accommodate the world’s largest container ships, offers cargo owners the chance to reduce costs, congestion and carbon emissions by shipping closer to market, avoiding longer inland journeys.

Warren Marshall, Peel Ports’ Group Planning Director said: “The past few years have been a time of transformation for Lancashire and the wider North West. With a shared vision for increasing capacity for trade and investing in infrastructure, Peel Ports and Lancashire County Council are confident that recent these developments have strengthened the position of the region and future-proofed it for many years to come. This recent activity also underlines the case for the Northern Powerhouse as a means to help rebalance the UK economy. Our own investment in Liverpool and Heysham highlights our unwavering commitment to seeing the North West lead the UK as the region of choice for international and Irish Sea shipping.”

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "The opening of the Bay Gateway signals real change in Lancashire. In the few months that traffic has been using the Gateway we have seen the benefits for local people and businesses, in terms of reducing travel times and congestion and improving the reliability of journeys by road.

"We are committed to creating the conditions for communities and businesses to thrive and the Bay Gateway is another transport infrastructure landmark that will not only benefit the local area but the whole county. It is also one of many strategic economic initiatives that we are delivering with business partners across Lancashire to develop new growth and investment opportunities with businesses already established here and those we are aiming to attract to the county.

"The Bay Gateway, which created 3000 jobs in the construction phase, is already benefiting business and it is exciting to visit the Port of Heysham and see the real impact of our investment on the ground."

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