Heathrow logistics hub included in new economic strategy

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 11 Oct 2018

British Steel deputy chief executive Paul Martin underlined the “opportunity of a generation” that is the potential Heathrow logistics hub.

The company's sprawling Scunthorpe site is in the final 60 areas for consideration, with numbers expected to be brought down early in 2019, with hopes of a definitive decision by the end of next year.

Mr Martin ran through the credentials as part of the second big ask of government in the emerging economic strategy, to grow manufacturing and engineering. 

Speaking at the North Lindsey College launch event, he said: “We are sat on a site of 500 acres, we have lots of land, lots of buildings, and lots of connectivity. A mainline connection to rail, we bring material in through Port of Immingham and we have lots of road and rail movement. We think we offer a strong opportunity to set up a logistics hub in this region."

Speakers who outlined the 10 asks. From left, Peter Thorpe, Mark O'Reilly, Simon Green, Paul Martin, David Clugston and Cllr Rob Waltham MBE.

Britain's largest airport is pushing forward with development of a third runway, with the associated infrastructure required totalling some £15 billion.  

"Heathrow has looked at this and said it needs 370,000 tonnes of steel, and committed to the public procurement guidance that we should use steel (manufacturing) based in the UK wherever possible," Mr Martin said.

Read more: Logistics hub plan can still take off after Heathrow expansion backed in Westminster

“If we can attract off-site production and reassure Heathrow and others it is UK steel being used to build the project, then great, but it is not enough to have a site and steel. Heathrow is looking for a number of things, looking for skills and people to be able to work in logistics.

"We have excellent schools and colleges, I’m pleased to see the Engineering UTC  and good engineering apprenticeship workshops.  I think we can offer Heathrow reassurances we have the right people, with the right skills and right education. This area has expertise in logistics, one of the biggest ports in Europe, on our doorstep, we know we can move stuff.

“If we can get this established it goes beyond Heathrow. I can see it rolled out to HS2, to Hinkley Point, to Crossrail, lots of big infrastructure projects where you cannot have all that work and wealth in the South East, where it has to be done off-site and shipped in.  

“If this region is chosen to host a hub I would see it as absolutely transformational for the regional economy. For us the more steel the better, we can offer land and buildings, and for British Steel it is a boost in terms of long term sustainability, but if landed it is an opportunity for business transformation for North Lincolnshire.”  

The collaboration with other stakeholders was also key, having been well demonstrated when Heathrow executives visited Scunthorpe earlier this year. 

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