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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
David Laister

Humber focus as ABP reveals £5m plan to open up 1,000 acres of strategic land

Five key sites on the Humber form the bulk of a new push by Associated British Ports to open up more than 1,000 acres of strategic land.

It aims to support supply chain, manufacturing and energy sectors, with the move coming hot on the heels of the freeport status launch.

A total of 14 locations have been highlighted by the port giant, with more than 70 per cent of the footprint across Grimsby, Hull and Immingham.

Read more: Freeport launch during COP26 spawns 'Humber’s economic rebirth as decarbonising pioneers'

ABP’s chief executive, Henrik Pedersen, said: “Our ports – with their superb connectivity both domestic and internationally, together with established infrastructure – already play a key role in the UK manufacturing, supply chain and energy sectors.

“This initiative will enable a growing number of businesses to leverage our land, property partnering expertise and power capacity. We believe this can make a significant contribution to the country’s economic vibrancy and supply chain efficiency.

Henrik Pedersen, chief executive of Associated British Ports. (Ruud Taal / ABP)

“ABP is a strategic partner for UK businesses assisting the country’s post-pandemic recovery, and achieving the common goal of decarbonisation.”

The 779 acres included on the Humber features:

  • Hull International Enterprise Park (468 acres)
  • King George & Queen Elizabeth Dock, Hull (159 acres)
  • Imm-Port and Queens Road, Immingham (two sites of 51 acres and 9 acres)
  • Grimsby Automotive Park (92 acres)
Imm-Port, close to the eastern entrance to Port of Immingham. (ABP)

During the next 18 months, ABP has committed to spending more than £5 million to make the sites ready for development, obtaining appropriate outline planning consents, technical understanding and carrying out essential land preparation.

Port-centric manufacturing projects have already seen ABP partner with a wide range of businesses to co-invest in bespoke facilities. And as the UK reshapes its energy generation strategy, port locations will play an increasingly important role in supporting the offshore wind industry.

Mr Pedersen added: “One of our biggest offshore wind projects is Green Port Hull – a £310m state-of-the-art production and assembly facility on which we partnered with the wind turbine supplier, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.

“Facilities off the East Coast of the UK will play a pivotal role in green energy generation, and we believe our land development initiative can help anticipate future manufacturing demand for these facilities on the way towards a net zero carbon country.”

Remaining locations are in Cardiff, Newport, Port Talbot, Southampton, Liverpool and Ipswich. Next year will see the release of further opportunities, with all benefiting from strong rail and road connectivity plus renewable energy generation.

Bruce Robertson, head of supply chain and consumer advisory at CBRE, which is advising ABP on the initiative, said: “The country needs more distribution hubs adjacent to major conurbations with a good labour supply and which can connect into our road and rail networks. These ABP sites are superbly situated to do just that.

“The need for more warehouse space to fulfil online retailing – which is growing and was accelerated by the pandemic – plus ongoing labour shortages are putting unprecedented pressure on the UK’s supply chain.”

The UK currently has the third highest e-commerce penetration ratio globally at 24 per cent with annual online spend of approaching £100 billion. The online spending ratio is forecast to rise to 32 per cent by 2025. It is estimated that for every additional £1 billion of online spend around one million sq ft of logistics space is needed to fulfil delivery.

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