The UK’s largest port operator is offering over a thousand acres of development land to support the UK’s supply chain, manufacturing and renewable energy sectors.
Associated British Ports (ABP) operates 21 ports across the UK, and is now making 14 strategic sites available for a range of business uses.
During the next 18 months, ABP has committed to spending more than £5m to make the locations ready for development.
This includes obtaining appropriate outline planning consents, technical understanding and carrying out essential land preparation.
The UK currently has the third highest e-commerce penetration ratio globally at 24 per cent, with annual online spend approaching £100bn.
It is estimated that for every additional £1bn of online spend around 1m square feet of logistics space is needed to fulfil delivery.
The online spending ratio is forecast to rise to 32 per cent by 2025.
ABP’s chief executive officer, Henrik L. Pedersen, outlined the new sites would benefit from the key role the ports already play in UK manufacturing, supply chain and energy sectors.
He said: “This initiative will enable a growing number of businesses to leverage our land, property partnering expertise and power capacity. We believe this can make a significant contribution to the country’s economic vibrancy and supply chain efficiency.”
Bruce Robertson, head of supply chain and consumer advisory at CBRE – which is advising ABP on the initiative – argued the country could significantly strengthen its straining supply chains with more distribution hubs adjacent to major ports.
He said: “The need for more warehouse space to fulfil online retailing – which is growing and was accelerated by the pandemic – plus ongoing labour shortages are putting unprecedented pressure on the UK’s supply chain.”
ABP has also partnered with the wind turbine supplier, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, to build Green Port Hull, a £310m offshore wind production and assembly facility.
The group has previously warned that the supply chain crisis could last until 2023, with driver shortages expected to persist into winter.