Calls for a second Humber Bridge near the Immingham and Hull ports have been backed by Associated British Ports.
It comes after the launch of Transport for the North’s consultation over the Future Freight and Logistics Strategy, which seeks to improve transport links across the Northern areas of the country.
Transport for the North is a statutory sub-national transport body that makes the case for strategic improvements across the sector, bringing local councils and business leaders such as Network Rail and HS2 together with authorities to evaluate how transport can be boosted.
Associated British Ports argue that while improvements to passenger railway services and cycling networks are welcomed, the importance of the movement of freight has been overlooked and should be reassessed.
The four ports in the Humber make it the biggest port complex in the UK, handling 17% of the nation’s trade, as well as being a vital link in moving freight across the country.
Across the Humber ports there are 6,700 HGV movements every day, and ABP Humber is calling for a reset of how freight moving is viewed, in the hope of growing the economy post-pandemic and ensuring jobs continue to be created.
A major part of Associated British Ports’ vision is to build a second bridge over the river Humber to prevent HGV delays should something happen on the original bridge.
ABP regional director for the Humber, Simon Bird, said: “The Environment Agency are currently working on proposals for a flood barrier for the Humber. Our ask is to consider adding a road bridge over the top of that barrier. Doing so would give benefits not just for the Humber region, but for the nation.
“At present, both the ports of Hull and Immingham are reliant on one road (the A63 and the A180 respectively). When something happens on those roads, vital freight can be delayed enormously. Not only does this mean people do not get goods on time, but it also makes us less competitive commercially in the North of England.
“Putting in a new crossing would reduce congestion in Hull, forge new economic ties between Grimsby and Hull, and build resilience into the road network so that traffic from the ports on both banks of the Humber have alternative routes when incidents or congestion occurs.
“This would speed up the movement and increase the reliability of freight and that could benefit business across the North. This will obviously be costly. However, as we look to grow our trading sphere post-Brexit, the time is right to think boldly about the future of our transport.”