In September Associated British Ports (ABP) unveiled it plans to invest £50m in the port of Southampton on the English south coast. The major investment comes after the port has already benefitted from £32m in ABP investment over the past five years and will support the port’s continued growth over two phases.
ABP said that Southampton is the UK’s biggest port for vehicle handling, and that the expansion of its vehicle handling facilities will increase the port’s export capacity. In 2015 in excess of 900,000 vehicles passed through the port, of which 520,000 were for export.
James Cooper, chief executive of ABP said: "Southampton is the UK's number one port for exports, handling exports worth some £40bn and it is the UK's number one for vehicle exports.The port is a critical part of the supply chain for the British automotive industry, providing essential access to global markets.Our investment will build on this critical role and support our customers' drive to continue to grow their exports well into the future."
The first phase of £25m investment will see two new vehicle handling facilities built with a combined capacity of 7,600 vehicles to be stored en route from UK manufacturers for export worldwide.
An additional two facilities will be developed during the second phase of investment – a further £25m. In total the funding from ABP is expected to increase Southampton’s capacity by 15,000 vehicle spaces; bringing the total number of vehicle handling facilities in the port to nine and the total number of vehicles it can accommodate to 55,000.
The move has been welcomed by international trade secretary Liam Fox. Mr Fox said: "This investment is positive news not just for Southampton, but for our world-class automotive industry as a whole. Southampton is a key route for British brands to access international markets and this investment will allow exporters to take advantage of the global demand for British-made vehicles."