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14 September 2016

Mott MacDonald identifies potential £35bn worth of benefits to the Northern Powerhouse, UK

Mott MacDonald has identified a potential £35bn worth of benefits to the Northern Powerhouse by maximising the role of North of England’s freight and logistics sector. The Northern Freight and Logistics Report, produced on behalf of Transport for the North, highlights the role the freight and logistics sector can play in supporting and rebalancing the UK’s economy.

The strategy set out by Mott MacDonald recommends support to reduce the cost of freight transport, expand the global market share for the North in the logistics sector and attract inward private investment into the Northern Powerhouse and UK as a whole.

Interventions suggested in the report include:

  • Increasing network capacity for freight to, from and within the North on railways and waterways
  • Addressing pinch-points on the road network, particularly considering the pivotal role played by the M62
  • Developing strategically located freight interchanges/distribution centres (Multimodal Distribution Parks) which are well connected by rail and/or waterways
  • Delivering growth for Northern ports by improving connectivity to and from these hubs and enabling shipping lines to offer more cost-effective services
  • Simplifying and streamlining planning and decision making processes, to fast-track the changes needed
  • Addressing training and skills gaps, creating jobs in the North and ensuring the freight industry has the human resources it requires

The report envisions a joint approach to delivery, with infrastructure improvements in the short, medium and long-term delivered by the public sector working alongside commitment and investment from the private sector.

Mott MacDonald deployed transport planning, transport modelling, economics, and market research skills, supported by freight specialist MDS Transmodal, to deliver this challenging commission. The consultancy worked with a wide range of senior stakeholders, including local authorities across the North of England, the Department for Transport and industry representatives of the freight and logistics sector. As well as the £35bn of user and non-user benefits identified in the report, an additional £13-20bn of wider economic benefits and up to 38,000 new jobs for the Northern economy were also identified using Mott MacDonald’s Transparent Economic Assessment Model.

Richard Brown, Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said: “The report sets out the outcomes of our study which involved intensive consultation with the freight and logistics sector. We have identified a series of measures which could deliver transformative benefits not only to the north of England but to the whole of the UK economy. The report is just one aspect of our current work supporting the Northern Powerhouse initiative across a variety of multi-modal transport programmes. Since its publication it has been really encouraging to see the strong on-the-record support that the report has received from across the public and private sector.”

Transport for the North will now begin identifying recommendations for short and medium to long-term strategic investments, through the strategic transport plan, which will also be supported by a wider International Connectivity Report to be released later this year.

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