Developer sees big opportunity in Northern Powerhouse as Liverpool 2 gears up

The North West’s largest developer Peel Group says now is a time of fantastic potential as the region demonstrates vision and leadership in its quest to become a Northern Powerhouse.

Liverpool2 is a £350M development to double port container capacity to 1.5M TEU

Developer Peel Group has been investing in the North West for over 40 years and is currently delivering some of the UK’s biggest projects. Liverpool2, the £350M new container terminal that will double Liverpool’s container capacity to 1.5M TEU, is set to complete at the end of 2015 and will bring over 5000 direct and indirect jobs. This is complemented by a £150M development at Port Salford which is adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal.

“There is going to be a real boost to trade coming through Liverpool2 and then feeding up the Ship Canal into the core of the Manchester conurbation”  - Peter Nears, Peel Holdings

New connections from here into the Liverpool to Manchester railway will boost freight traffic and the improved inland port facility will increase trade significantly along the Ship Canal, offering a more efficient, higher capacity transport option from Liverpool Port than road freight. At the same time, Peel is creating a 153,000sqm warehousing facility called the National Import Centre and upgrading the A57 road links.

“There is going to be a real boost to trade coming through Liverpool2 and then feeding up the Ship Canal into the core of the Manchester conurbation,” says Peter Nears, Strategic Planning Director for Peel Holdings.  He points to development of the US’ east coast ports, completion of the Panama Canal in 2016 and the trend for larger container ships that Liverpool will be able to receive at the new terminal as being key drivers for future growth.

Having this long term view is one of the reasons that the developer was able to launch these schemes at a time of recession. Collectively its 56 projects around the Port and along the Manchester Ship Canal corridor are known as the Ocean Gateway. Launched in 2008, construction began in 2009 and long term investment potential is estimated at £50bn.

“We did an update last year and found that we had invested £1bn, others had invested £1bn and it had generated around 12,000 jobs. Given that this was a period of recession, we thought that was a pretty worthy output.”

For Peel then, the recent focus on the North and the renewed government commitment to cross regional transport investment is very welcome. “One North and the formulation of Transport for the North is very positive and much more cross boundary working is going on, which is good. We are very anxious to see that succeed,” says Nears. He says that taking a strategic view is critical.

“It is not just about transport, but is actually about what that means in terms of the economic arguments and spatially in terms of major investment areas. Part of the process of One North is a national rebalancing and that needs to ensure that everyone gets to contribute according to their potential, not just where they are now but where they might be with investment support that One North might bring.”

Of course, Peel is investing in other sectors too:  energy, transport, aviation, retail, leisure and real estate and, although some policy decisions still need to be made on airports and energy, Nears says that now is an exciting time. “We are in a time of fantastic potential with new opportunities created from more global connectivity. But making the most of this will require long term vision, political leadership and an outward focus.”

  • The full article will appear in Infrastructure Intelligence Northern Powerhouse report in March


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