Transport for the North, the body set up to transform connectivity across the North of England and drive economic growth, has taken a major step in the delivery of its vision with the announcement of plans to develop a Northern Freight and Logistics Strategy.
Following on from the publication of The Northern Powerhouse report in March 2015, which set out the ambitions of Transport for the North (TfN), a tender has been issued inviting businesses to assist in the development of a multi-modal freight and logistics strategy. This plan will inform future development of transport investment plans and capture economic value added by freight in the North.
Scheduled to be published next year (2016), this strategy is the first step on the way to realising TfN’s vision of a vibrant and connected Northern economy.
Accounting for nine percent of the country’s GDP and supporting countless industries, freight plays a major role in the UK economy. However, 90 per cent of containers currently enter the UK through southern ports – despite up to 60 per cent being destined for the Midlands and the North.
Feeding into TfN’s overall vision, this work will be required to deliver a system which will help to realise the economic potential of freight in the region. By evening out North-South inequalities and increasing the value of exports across the region this project will contribute to the economy as a whole as well as building on capacity and reliability.
The system will also be required to offer sustainable freight movements, to facilitate ongoing economic growth while supporting carbon reduction.
Commenting on the announcement, David Brown, Director General of Merseytravel, who sits on the TfN Executive Board and is responsible for freight, said: “This marks an important step forward in delivering our vision of a North which acts as a magnet for inward investment, and capitalises on the combined strengths of its towns and cities.
“TfN is looking for a partner to map out a strategy which will support northern business, increase the value of exports across the North and ultimately unlock the economic potential of our region.”
TfN was set up by the Government in October 2014. It is a unique partnership between the northern city region authorities, Government and the national transport agencies. The Northern Powerhouse report outlines TfN’s vision for addressing the gap in economic performance between the North and the South East.