Suffolk business leaders and their public sector partners have welcomed the publication of the Department for Transport (DfT)’s study England’s Port Connectivity as further evidence to Government of the value of investing in the County’s road and rail infrastructure to achieve economic and business growth.
Mark Pendlington, chair of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce-led campaign for No More A14 Delays in Suffolk said “our growing international economy is further boosted by this DfT study confirming that the Government will prioritise future road investment to address the urgent need for efficient routes to global markets through international gateways. This is a terrific vote of confidence in our compelling case for much needed upgrades to the A14, and also the A12 and A120.
“Businesses across Suffolk and the wider region are attracting new jobs and new investment, and are delivering growth and opportunity for UK plc in one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
“Investing in our road, rail and ports infrastructure is a top priority if we are to compete and win in the global economy. This latest report puts even more energy and determination into our campaign for new investment as we prepare to reinforce our case to the Transport Minister.
“The study adds to the boost already given to the A14 through its designation by DfT as a potential Expressway in the Government’s recent consultation Shaping the future of England’s strategic roads which will set the context for the next funding round of the Roads Investment Strategy, from 2020-25.
”It also recommends that investment to support the rail freight network should continue, recognising its important contribution to the economy and environment. This will build on the current investment that is so crucial to creating the capacity on the network needed to grow rail freight in a competitive market.
“So today we say loud and clear, let’s make it all happen.”
Andrew Harston, chair of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s Transport and Infrastructure Board, added “we applaud the recognition in the report that the Haven ports of Felixstowe, Ipswich and Harwich are an important international gateway for unitised cargo. Specific mention is made of the UK’s largest container port in Felixstowe, which handles over 4 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) or 40% of England’s container traffic with around half of that moved by rail, and Ipswich for which the key markets are dry bulk and general cargo, including agricultural products for export and aggregates for construction.
“The number of short sea continental movements using the A12, A120 and A14 is also highly significant at over 60,0000 trailer movements, or 1.2 million TEUs, representing a volume that is set to become even more critical to UK plc as we approach Brexit.
“Formal recognition of the potential of the rail freight network to further improve our ports’ connectivity and drive up UK exports is enormously helpful to our campaigns for improvements to such critical parts of the rail network as Haughley and Ely Junctions.”
A copy of the DfT report can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/701352/england-port-connectivity-the-current-picture.pdf