Northern ports such as Goole are preparing for an influx of freight as shipping companies seek alternatives to Dover amid fears about the consequences of Brexit.
There is widespread concern that there will be lengthy delays at Dover as the main sea links with the Continent are disrupted.
Uncertainty over the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU has led to predictions of long queues at busier harbours on both sides of the Channel after Britain leaves the bloc next March.
Dover and the Channel tunnel in 2017 handled half the freight shipped by container and truck from the so-called “short sea market”, an arc from Denmark to Portugal. That was 4.2m units, with 2.6m through Dover and 1.6m through the tunnel, according to government figures analysed by consultancy PRB Associates. Most were accompanied by truck drivers.
Peter Baker, of PRB Associates, said any shift from Dover could be accommodated easily because there was spare capacity on routes across the North Sea. He has calculated that as much as a fifth of container trade from Dover and the Channel tunnel could move to alternative crossings.
Around 90 per cent of containers from deep-sea crossings enter the UK through the south, but more than half of that cargo is destined for places north of Birmingham.
Mike Heydecke, director of leading Yorkshire developers Sterling Capitol, believes any increased traffic at Goole will have a tremendously positive knock-on effect on the town and surrounding area.
“Capitol Park Goole, by Junction 36 on the M62, is perfectly positioned to take advantage of any increased activity in the port of Goole. The park has been opened up by a new link road from the motorway to the port and has massive economic potential. This potential is now ready to be unlocked.”
Stephen Silvester, Inward Investment Manager of East Riding of Yorkshire Council added: “As evidenced by ABP’s recent investments in container infrastructure, the Humber Ports are already thriving and have the capacity to handle more trade post Brexit. The Port of Goole as the gateway to the Humber and the start of the ‘Energy Estuary’, is particularly well equipped to support this growth due its inland position, proximity to the main motorway network and oven ready employment land such as Capitol Park which has Enterprise Zone status”.
Meanwhile planning permission has recently been granted for an access road into the heart of Capitol Park Goole, which will open up the 32-acre site for quality industrial development, creating 1,000 sustainable jobs.
Mike Heydecke commented: “The site has the capacity for 500,000 sq ft of quality warehousing and distribution space. We are looking to build one substantial unit, but could subdivide into two. It is adjacent to Guardian Glass and a major Tesco distribution hub, underling the park’s credentials”.
Transport manufacturing giant Siemens has recently signed a long-term agreement for the lease of a 67-acre site at Goole 36, next to Capitol Park Goole, with plans to build a new state-of-the-art factory to manufacture and commission trains.
This development, which could mean an investment of up to £200m, is a major step forward for Siemens in the UK. The new factory could employ up to 700 people in skilled engineering and manufacturing roles, plus an additional 250 people during the construction phase. Around 1,700 indirect jobs are expected to be created throughout the UK supply chain.
Rob Watmuff of Colliers International, joint marketing agents for Capitol Park Goole, added: “We have been approached by several supply chain companies who have requested further information about the site and the Enhanced Capital Allowances benefits against investment in new plant and machinery that the site could offer companies locating to it. This is a great time for Goole and perfect timing to bring Capitol Park Goole forward.”