ABP highlights economic potential
Tuesday October 20th, 2020
Associated British Ports (ABP) has 21 ports around Britain handling about £150bn of trade on behalf of businesses around the country. Together with its customers, ABP’s ports already support 119,000 jobs and contribute £7.5bn to the UK economy every year.
The business said an ambitious Freeports policy had the potential to generate further economic activity by attracting investment and growing international trade that benefits the whole economy.
Rishi Sunak, then chief secretary to the treasury, launched the government’s consultation on Freeports at ABP Southampton in February.
As part of a wider strategy, the Freeports also offer the chance to achieve important national objectives, including boosting exports; reducing carbon emissions; and levelling up the economy, ABP added.
A spokesperson for ABP told Insider: “By eliminating tariffs and duties, reducing operating costs and streamlining planning, Freeports could become ideal locations for investment in new manufacturing, logistics and innovation.
“This could lead to the creation of thousands of quality long-term, high-skilled jobs in coastal communities, which have been left behind recent economic development.”
Highlighting how several ABP ports are “well placed to deliver on the stated objectives of the Freeports policy”, the spokesperson added: “ABP’s ports are located on key global and European trade routes and in close proximity to important domestic industrial clusters, logistics hubs and major conurbations.
“ABP owns a total of 3,743 hectares of freehold land, one of the largest portfolios in the UK, which includes 960 hectares of strategic development land in prime locations across the country.”
Freeports could also serve to accelerate the growth of renewable energy clusters and innovation hubs, helping to deliver shared objectives on environmental protection and decarbonisation.
ABP’s ports on the Humber, in South Wales and in Southampton, have the infrastructure in place for a Freeport, ABP said, while the business also pointed to its track record of investment.
“Beyond the ports, infrastructure investment to improve port connectivity will be an important factor in enabling the continued growth of Freeports and the businesses that locate within them.
“Support for the upgrade of roads, widening of junctions and gauge clearance to facilitate rail freight can ease the flow of goods to and from the ports and deliver significant environmental and efficiency benefits.”