The Independent International Connectivity Commission has published a report today that advocates better connected airports and ports in the North of England could release massive potential benefits for trade and business growth.
Improving international links from the North could see 75 million air passengers travelling to and from the region each year by 2050, nearly double the current number. However, road and rail links also need investment and development which could also see more freight being shipped directly into and out of the region, naturally boosting the economy and easing pressure on south coast ports.
The commission was brought together by John Cridland, Chair of Transport for the North and former Director General of CBI, and consisted of Chris Davis (chief operating officer at PZ Cussons), Mark Parsons (chief customer officer UK & Ireland, DHL Supply Chain), Andrew Sentance (senior economic adviser at PWC) and Sarah Stewart (chief executive, NewcastleGateshead Initiative).
John Cridland comments: “It’s clear that the North’s ports and airports are key economic assets for the region, with nearly 40 million passengers flying from the region each year and around a third of all UK freight using northern ports.
“Yet we know that the lack of access to and from our ports and airports is holding them back, with congestion on our roads and railways making it difficult for people and goods to reach international gateways. These inadequate ground transport links, coupled with not enough direct services to key international destinations, mean that passengers from the North often have to travel from Southern gateways. They also act as a disincentive from both business and leisure travellers to visit the region. Unlike in the South, where ports and airports are heavily congested, the North’s international gateways have unused capacity.”
“We believe international connectivity starts on the ground; by properly utilising available resources we can both boost the economy of the North and ease pressure on overloaded ports and airports elsewhere. We need to start promoting the North as a destination of choice, both to do business and to visit.”