Industry leaders showcase Humber region’s potential in London

Lesley Batchelor, Director General of The Institute of Export International Trade

Industry leaders took the Humber to London’s financial hub to showcase the Humber region as a global trading centre at London International Shipping week.

Team Humber Marine Alliance were supported by Marketing Humber to present at a regional focus event on the 42nd floor of The Leadenhall Building – affectionately known as ‘The Cheesegrater’ – where they promoted the Humber to worldwide trade.

Mark O’Reilly, Team Humber CEO and Chairman, said: “The Humber’s story is well established, and we believe that we now have a solid platform from which to grow. In just eight years we have become world leaders in maritime operations for the offshore wind sector and have enjoyed significant investment in container shipping through Hull.

“Now the Humber, which combines Hull, Immingham, Grimsby and Goole is the busiest port complex by tonnage in the country, accounting for 23% of goods which travel through English ports.

“There is now a constant flow of trade missions to the region. Recently we have hosted three from South Korea, and others from Japan and China.

“We have always been a maritime leader and our aim is to continue to drive investment into our ports with a number of world-leading companies on our team. We are now seeking a number of opportunities beyond the Humber’s traditional routes of Denmark and Germany, having recently hosted wind energy experts from the USA, components for Siemens turbine blades are arriving in Hull from as far afield as Vietnam.”

Addressing the question of how the Humber will continue to grow as a trading hub, Mark referenced that in order to move increased freight as quickly as required by customers, the region needed to take a broader view of developing research and development, supply chain management, collaboration with other maritime regions and crucially, connectivity from east coast to west.

Lesley Batchelor, Director General of The Institute of Export International Trade, said: “Connectivity in the north is just as – if not more – important than infrastructure projects in the south. There is simply too much traffic on the M62 at present, and this needs to be addressed urgently as the number of lorries coming through our ports increases too.”

Gary Hodgson, MD of Port Logistics for Mersey-based Peel Ports group, said: “Almost £1bn combined has been invested in port complexes in the Humber and the Mersey to increase capacity, with more containers coming through and connectivity as it is, we are on the verge of crisis.

“We can’t move a container from west to east due to height clearance issues on the route, so the only other alternative is to put it on the M62. With an approaching shortage of freight drivers by 50 to 60,000, this is not sustainable, and we will not be able to move freight quickly enough.”