PD Ports chief calls for action
The UK’s Northern Powerhouse is at risk of becoming a talking shop amid a slowdown of momentum from Westminster, Frans Calje, chief executive of PD Ports told Port Strategy.
He noted: “There’s definitely a very strong willingness in the north to make things happen. It’s almost like when the idea first launched, everybody said ‘this is fantastic, let’s connect the north together and rebalance the economy’.
“What I’m concerned about is a lack of momentum because we’re still talking about how things are going to happen and how this is going to come together. Immediately you start to wander into unchartered waters in terms of is this just going to be a talking shop or are we really going to make it happen?”
Mr Calje added that while George Osborne “absolutely championed” the Northern Powerhouse agenda, his successor Philip Hammond hasn’t shown the same level of enthusiasm, nor has Westminster driven momentum.
“The whole purpose of the Northern Powerhouse is to look beyond your own tradition boundaries,” he continued. “What the Northern Powerhouse is all about is something much bigger than all of us. It’s about the mobility of people and skills, it’s about freight, it’s about gate clearance, it’s about operating the A66 as far as we’re concerned, but actually it’s about allowing people who are living in Newcastle to get to Teesside without sitting in a queue.
“If you can get that mobility of people going, the north becomes such an attractive place for foreign investors to come in.”
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