Mark Whitworth appeals for a more ‘cohesive approach’ to economic development as Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram visits the £400m Liverpool2 facility. Tony McDonough reports
Port of Liverpool operator Peel Ports is calling for the city region’s business leaders and agencies to adopt a more “cohesive approach” to economic development.
On Tuesday, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram visited Peel’s £400m Liverpool2 deep water port facility.
Operational from earlier this year, Liverpool2 is equipped to handle 95% of the world’s biggest container ships and Peel believes it could revolutionise the UK’s logistics sector which is currently geared towards Southern English Ports.
When new logistics infrastructure investment at both Liverpool and Port Salford, at the other end of the Manchester Ship Canal, is taken into account Peel’s investment totals £750m.
However, Merseyside continues to be hampered by political squabbling with the most recent spat between Mr Rotheram and Liverpool’s elected Mayor, Joe Anderson.
During Mr Rotheram’s visit to the port at Seaforth, Peel Ports chief executive Mark Whitworth said it was time for everyone in the city region to pull together and maximise the opportunities the port offers.
He said: “There are multiple organisations involved in promoting and facilitating business growth in the area.
“What’s really needed is a strong guiding hand to make sure their work is well coordinated and helping the region to achieve a shared vision.
“We’ve already seen how Manchester has benefited from a cohesive approach across the public and private sectors.
“We want to see exactly the same in the Liverpool city region and are pleased that the new Metro Mayor is as committed as we are to achieving the best for the region.
“However, there are major challenges ahead. Improved local transport connections, especially to and from the port, are critical but we also want to see better land availability and skills development for the sake of the broader business community.”
After viewing Liverpool2 Mr Rotheram added: “Liverpool2 once again establishes Liverpool as a great global gateway opening up a new world of trade opportunities for the city region and the wider UK.
“This is a transformational project creating jobs and business growth and is integral to the delivery of the Northern Powerhouse vision.
“Peel Ports’ investment is a huge expression of confidence in the area, underlining how important the maritime and logistics sectors are to our economy.
“My role will be to work with government and other agencies to make sure that we capitalise on the potential of projects like Liverpool2 to drive prosperity and build a successful and competitive city region for the future.”